Courtesy of Flickr
Courtesy of Flickr

In last week’s edition of “Defeating the College Triangle,” we taught you how to steer clear of bad sleeping habits and anything else that may prevent you from getting some precious shut-eye. In this edition, we will navigate you through another side of the highly discussed College Triangle — Social Life — and show you how you can keep that part of your college experience in check.

Right off the bat, you know it sounds strange for someone to tell you they are going to advise you on your “social life.” It just sounds like an outdated term and you might be thinking, “Who is to tell me I have enough friends or not?” or “Who is to tell me I’m not talking to enough people?” Well, college is not like high school, where your social status is measured by how many friends you have. College is much more complex than that, in which the value of the friendships you make are more important than any other factor in determining your close companions. In your campus life, you’ll want to be with people who make you feel happy to be at school, people who you will always feel comfortable around no matter what the situation is. In this sense, we can more clearly define “social life” to be something that only enhances your college experience as opposed to something that distracts you from your school-related goals.

[pullquote]“Social life” should be something that only enhances your college experience as opposed to something that distracts you from your school-related goals.[/pullquote]

When looking for friends in college, it might be a good idea to start by finding people with whom you share a common interest. There are countless variations of this form of bonding — from campus organizations to work-study  — but the main point is that you are establishing yourself with a common activity and developing relationships with other people along the way. If you ever feel awkward being in a group of people because you feel like you have no purpose, being involved in an organized activity can help defeat that.

A specific type of group that Best College Reviews, an independent college review journal, recommends is study groups. They claim that forming study groups can be an effective way to meet other people in your classes and that helping others study can help you learn yourself. This is true, asserts Lifehack Expert Maria Brilaki, who states that, “Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

Courtesy of Wikimedia
Courtesy of Wikimedia

When finding your future buddies in college however, you shouldn’t feel the need to find your friend group right away. The process of making friends should come naturally, as it is something that you can’t really predict. In an article written by teen reporters for The Huffington Post titled “The Real Guide to Making Friends in College,” Indiana University freshman Tara Garvey reflected, “Early on, I was putting so much pressure on myself to lock down on a ‘group’ who I thought was going to be instantly as close as my friends from high school … It wasn’t until I stopped trying that I met the girl who has been the best part of my college career so far.

On a different but still related note, it’s also important not to pressure yourself into consuming drugs and alcohol just because your friends are doing it, as this could not only turn into an unhealthy habit but foster unhealthy relationships as well. Best College Reviews argues that the backbone of any healthy lifestyle is the avoidance of drugs and alcohol and that, unfortunately, students are more likely to experiment with these substances if their friends do it. A tip they extend to those in a risky situation involving drugs and alcohol is to simply act as the designated driver, as you will not only be conveying that you care about them but also voiding yourself of any peer pressure that might consume you that night.

All in all, the best advice one can give to someone looking to make more friends in college is to simply put yourself out there. In a compilation article by College Board titled, “Students Speak: What College Social Life is Really Like,” a former freshman offered some comforting advice: “Every college freshman is new to the school, so it’s a lot less awkward to introduce yourself.” Open your dorm room door for the first few weeks to let a few friendly faces stop by and say “hello,” ask the girl who sits next you in class if she’d like to study with you sometime and if your hallmates ask you’d like to get dinner with them, get dinner with them.

The comforting thing about first introductions is that it can rarely go too wrong, even if you trip up. In the Huffington Post’s article, Purdue University freshman Dana Daggett proffered, “If you do something awkward or embarrassing, it really does help break the ice because it gives you something to laugh about … I accidentally pushed the bathroom door when a girl was trying to get out, so I hit her. I made a joke about the nasty bathrooms, we laughed and ended up exchanging names.

Most of all, if you ever get stuck with what to do with your social life, just follow whatever feels right because university allows you the flexibility to use every quarter to start anew. Thankfully, the same can be said for our next side of the College Triangle — grades — but will it really be that easy to rewind your GPA once you have already trapped yourself within the unrelenting whirlpool of the Bermuda  — I mean, College — Triangle?

Stay tuned for next week when we will guide you on the third and final step of the triangle — Grades!