It’s so easy in elementary school. “Hey, want to be my friend?” And boom. You’re besties. Inseparable. Then years go by, inhibitions set in, and it’s not quite so easy to make new friends. Grad school is hard enough; making friends with your classmates is not only going to make it manageable, but, perhaps, even enjoyable. In the last few weeks, I’ve learned a few things about making friends in Grad school:
1. Be yourself. It’s normal for you to want to put your best face forward, but don’t disguise the quirks that make you, well, you. Maybe someone else is just as obsessed as you are with this season of So You Think You Can Dance.
2. Be open. Look for opportunities to introduce yourself and learn about others. You never know how much you’ll have in common with the person sitting next to you. They just might be looking to join a Fantasy Football league and you just might need one more fantasy coach.
3. Get involved. For those of you that aren’t quite outgoing enough to strike up a conversation, join a group on campus! There are clubs and organizations for almost any interest. Or join a degree specific group like the MHRM Council. (My shameless plug.)
4. Connect online. You can find out a lot about a person from social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Plus, it creates a real life connection when you tag them in your latest post about your major lack of sleep #GradSchoolProblems.
5. Be Inviting. No one wants to be leftout. So when you see that one person sitting alone—ask them to sit with you or invite them to lunch with a big group. Or host a beer and pizza night for your classmates so you can compare notes on that 500 page reading assignment.
Grad school is a time for new beginnings. Be proud of who you are, look for opportunities to meet others, get involved on campus, connect online with your classmates, and try to include everyone. Get out of your comfort zone, reach out to your classmates and create new bonds. And if all else fails, “Hey want to be my friend?” is always a solid standby.