Getting involved is one of the best ways to meet new people on campus. Often, the key to getting involved includes stepping out of your comfort zone, being open to new experiences and connecting with people you might not have met otherwise. No matter where you are in your academic journey, you can find ways to get involved and meet people.
Try new things
Students often hear that they need to find and pursue their passions. While that can be true, college is also an excellent time to try new things. Maybe it's your first time living near the mountains and you want to explore the great outdoors. Perhaps you want to try crafting or become a movie buff.
No matter what you’re into, take advantage of opportunities to tap into things that sound interesting to you. Outdoor Pursuits at the Rec Center offers classes, equipment rentals, a climbing gym and trips for students to access Colorado’s outdoor activities. The Center for Student Involvement hosts DIY Nights and other on-campus events. And Program Council hosts the free Friday Night Film Series.
As a student at CU Boulder, you can expand your horizons. Not only can you learn something new and maybe discover a hidden talent or new hobby, but you can meet people and build friendships. If you find something you enjoy, plan to go regularly. The more you show up, the easier it may be to connect with people who are also regulars.
Find your community
At a large university, finding community and gaining a sense of belonging is especially important. Whether you just arrived on campus for your first year or are wrapping up your graduate degree, there is a place for you here. CU Boulder has over 500 student organizations. Check out BuffConnect to see the many different options to meet people with similar interests. You can also find programs tailored to specific groups, activities or identities.
Here are a few of the opportunities for students to get involved.
Make the first move
When meeting new people and forming friendships, putting yourself out there can be scary. For many people, it’s common to feel nervous about initiating social plans. However, you can use this to your advantage. One strategy to try this semester is to commit to making the first move.
Try to be the first to introduce yourself when meeting someone new. Taking on the responsibility of breaking the ice can help pave the way for new friendships. It can also be helpful to take advantage of opportunities to make small talk. For instance, you may strike up a casual conversation with a cashier at the store to help you get more comfortable being the one to make the first move.
Here are a few places you can start to connect with others:
- In the classroom: Talk to the students sitting around you or suggest forming a study group.
- In your residence hall: Make it a goal to connect with someone new each day. You never know what you might have in common with your neighbors.
- In extracurricular activities: Whether volunteering, working on campus or being part of a student organization, you’ll have the chance to interact regularly with other students. If you hit it off with someone, ask if they want to hang out. You could attend a campus event together or share a meal.
It might take some effort to push past the nerves and talk with new people, but it can lead to new experiences and a wider social circle.
Give yourself grace
Building friendships can feel challenging. Remember that you can go slow and take small steps each day to meet people and invest in finding your community. Don’t be hard on yourself or give up if you put yourself out there and it’s not a good fit. Be proud of yourself for trying!
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you pursue friendships:
- Make time to have fun and meet people. While focusing on academics is important, taking breaks and spending time with other people is also valuable.
- When meeting new people, focus on the positives. Look for things you have in common, like personality, hobbies, shared experiences or humor.
- Keep trying. It can take time to find friends that you connect with. Also, not everyone you meet needs to be a close friend. It’s OK to have friends that you only see in class or when you work out at the Rec Center. While they may not be the exact kinds of relationships you are looking for, they can still add comfort to your daily routine.
When students feel connected at CU Boulder, they often experience improved academics and mental health. Developing friendships is one way to gain a sense of belonging and enhance your time at college.
Do you want to improve your social skills? Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) offers free interpersonal process therapy groups to help you improve your relationship-building skills, find support and learn ways to connect with others.
CU Boulder has over 500 student organizations. Check out BuffConnect to see the many different options to meet people with similar interests. You can also find programs tailored to specific groups, activities or identities.
The Division of Student Affairs hosts hundreds of free events every semester. Find activities to attend, and take this opportunity to invite someone you know to join you.
Volunteering for causes you care about can help you learn new skills, gain experience, make a difference and meet people with similar passions.
There are a ton of open jobs available on campus that can help you earn cash, build your resume and meet other students.
If you struggle with social anxiety or are nervous about meeting new people, consider joining CAPS for a free weekly workshop to learn how to manage and work with your anxiety so you can thrive on campus.
CISC offers programs, events and resources to promote inclusion and nurture identity development, diversity, equity and social justice. The gathering space in the CISC office gives students a place to meet new people, study or connect with staff.
The Rec Center offers a wide range of activities for students to have fun, be active, participate in events and meet new people. Check out the Main Student Rec Center or the Williams Village Rec Center.