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  • Caitlyn Garrigan

Ask Caitlyn: Can you make friends without being in the party scene?

Quick answer: Yes!

Great question. I had the same worry coming into college— I lived my twenties in my teens so by then I was already tired, but I feared missing opportunities to put myself out there and be social. But luckily, parties aren’t the only place in college where you’ll get to meet or connect with people.

Even in a small college like MSMC, there are almost always students around to talk to, and I’d say that’s the key. Communication and connection can happen anywhere, anytime. I met the best friends I’ve ever had in my life my freshman year, and it started with jokes in passing that turned into conversations; a compliment during class that turned into lunch at Henry’s afterwards; and talking to a girl in the dorm hallway that turned into binge-watching halloween movies all night.

I think putting yourself out there is the most important (and hardest) task to do. I highly suggest taking advantage of the various clubs here on campus– joining a club is a great way to meet students you have common interests with, and maybe just get more comfortable talking to new people. But, if joining a club doesn’t interest you or work for your schedule, definitely try to attend any student activities on campus to meet new people. In my experience, the students here are all kind, welcoming and often looking for a friend too.

When you attend classes, you’re surrounded by people to meet. Try talking to others sitting near you; ask them questions, or pay someone a compliment if you feel pulled to (I suggest doing this always, it’s a simple kindness that pays a lot). You could ask around to form or join a study group, or do homework together.

After talking to a girl in class and complimenting her band-tee, she asked, “Wanna get lunch at Henry’s after this?” I’m scared and I don’t know what to talk about, but hell yeah I do. “Sure!” We’ve been great friends since, and I’m in my (super) senior year.

Also, maybe try not to bolt out of the classroom the second the professor dismisses you. My friend, the first time we hung out, said she’d wanted to ask me to hang out since we’d met, but I often left the building before she’d even packed her bag.

Freshman year, I also put myself out there by trying to say yes to any opportunity offered to me— including parties and clubs sometimes, which were just fine, though the pre-game was really the only fun part to me. I made the most friends going anywhere but parties. And even though I was nervous without any liquid courage, it was rewarding.

No matter what, you’ll find friends here— great friends that you’ll fit in with, and who probably don’t like the party scene either.

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