What's campus life really like?

We polled Oregon State students at the end of their first year for tips on making friends.

1. Have an open-door policy.

  

When you're at home in your residence hall room, don't be afraid to leave your door open—it's a good way to strike up conversations with your neighbors.

Heather Hunt, a Human Development and Family Science major from Portland, met some of her best friends that way.

"My door was open, and I had music on, and one day Gretchen and Rachel just walked in," she remembers.

Eventually, hallway conversations led to longer talks, movie nights, and an entire year of great memories with her hall-mates. Sitting with her friends in the lounge of McNary Hall, Heather said she was glad she lived where she did.

"I couldn't imagine being anywhere else," she said. "These people are my people."

2. Share a meal.

  

Everybody's got to eat, right? Instead of taking food to-go and eating in your room, ask your neighbors if they want to walk to the dining center with you.

Dakota Chan and her friends from McNary Hall developed a tradition of eating together at least once a week.

"We had Wednesdays at West," she said. "We would walk over to Marketplace West once a week instead of just always eating at McNary."

Eventually, the group of friends grew so close that they started referring to themselves as "The Fam" and their shared meals as "family dinners."

3. Ask for homework help.

  

Take advantage of the fact that many of your neighbors are most likely first-year students just like you, and someone in your hall is most likely in the same classes you are.

Kellie Dixon, a biology major, lived in the Health & Well-Being Living-Learning Community her first year. Many of her hall-mates were also students in the College of Science.

"When I was doing homework, I could easily walk down the hall and just say, 'Hey, did you do this yet?'" she said.

Chances were good, she found, that her neighbors were willing to spend time studying together.

4. Give it time.

  

If you feel lonely when you first start college, rest assured: that's normal.

Kellie Dixon moved to Oregon from California without knowing a soul on campus. At first, that was rough.

"I didn't know anybody," she said. "I was Facetiming all my friends from home all the time."

Bit by bit, that changed. Late-night conversations, marathon homework sessions, and hallway Nerf gun fights all gradually cemented her college friendships.

"Now I have all these people that I met here," she said, looking around at the friends she met on campus.

"I could ask any one of you for help, and you would be there for me," she said. "You guys have my back."

Still looking for ways to connect? Try these resources.

 

Find a club.

  

No matter what you're into, someone else here is probably into it it too. From anime to water polo, Oregon State has a student club or organization exploring just about everything. Check out a meeting and find some like-minded Beavs.

 

Attend an event.

     

There are free student events on campus every week. Check out OSU After Dark, OSU Residence Hall Association, and the OSU Program Council for things to do with other Beavs.

 

 

Talk to someone.

     

If you're feeling lonely and want to talk to someone about it, use the free counseling services available through Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). Try a single-session clinic to talk through a specific problem; you can even schedule online.