In college, you’ll meet a ton of new people very quickly. Understandably, it can be a bit overwhelming.

The minute you step onto campus, you’ll be greeted with a sea of friendly faces—that terrify you. You just spent years of your life in one building surrounded by people you’ve known since elementary school. You’re not even sure you know how to make a new friend.

It’s okay, you don’t need to make friends with everyone. But there are certain people you definitely want to connect with.

The Lonely Wanderer

You’re on your way to your first class and you suddenly realize you’re lost.

Pick the most confident walker out of the crowd and ask them to point out the building you’re looking for.

This relationship doesn’t need to last more than a minute. It won’t take them long to explain where your class is located; it’s still an important exchange. Think of it as practice for approaching new people and striking up conversations. You’ll be less nervous when there’s a real opportunity to introduce yourself if you’ve gotten used to the first, scariest step.

Also, being unable to find your class puts you in a foul mood and makes you feel even more overwhelmed. You probably don’t need the extra stress. This little interaction can salvage your attitude for the whole day as well as your perception of that first class.

Your Advisor

The professor assigned to be your advisor should be at the top of your priority list when it comes to building relationships. They will be your savior when it comes to choosing the right classes and adjusting to your new life at school.

Never be afraid to go to their office hours. Ask them questions, get to know them and let them help you with your schedule.

Not only will you have someone experienced to assist you with decisions you’ve never had to make before, but they can give you a great reference when you apply for a job or internship.

Your advisor is an expert at helping students make decisions they’ve never had to make before. They can also act as an important reference when you apply for jobs or internships.

A New Friend

Surrounding yourself with like minded individuals is comforting in a time of change, but college gives you the opportunity to really branch out. Don’t make assumptions about new people who don’t seem to have much in common with you. Instead, try to get to know them; you might really make a connection.

Try striking up a conversation with someone who challenges your opinions and makes you see the world through a new perspective. It’s almost guaranteed you’ll find people like this in your classes. Building this relationship will help you start thinking differently about beliefs you’ve held your whole life. It’ll set you on the road to becoming a more thoughtful, mature adult.

A Senior in Your Field

Try to befriend a senior that shares your major. This person has the potential to be not only a friend, but a mentor.

By the time you’ve graduated and are looking for jobs or internships, they’ll have a couple of years of experience under their belt already. They can give you advice that will save you a lot of time and stress. And, they might be a great reference, too.

An Internship Coordinator

Again, this relationship will help ease your transition into your future career.

Internships are key to gaining valuable job experience and professional connections. Complete an internship while still in college and make an impression on the coordinator. Get to know the professionals you’re working with. Make it clear you’re eager to learn from them and interested in their work.

You can gain your important third reference while at an internship.


Aside from the above relationships, definitely try to make all sorts of other friends, too! Talk to anyone—it’s college—people are very interesting because they come from everywhere. You’ll never have as many opportunities to meet new people as you will these four years, so take advantage!