How to Get Out of Your Shell

Your classroom number is 104. You walk in a few minutes before class. Who wants to be late this early in the semester? Plus, you want to get a seat in the back. You sit down, and you have other people that start piling into the classroom. The professor starts class and you begin taking notes. Class ends, everyone leaves and you head back to your room. Your problem is that you can’t socialize during the lecture and you didn’t have a chance to stick around after class. How do you crack a joke with your classmates when you don’t know the person you are walking next to when class ends? “How about those significant figures in chemistry today?” It can be hard to get out of your shell and make friends when you don’t know anyone.

My name is Gage Bauer and I’m a senior advertising student. During my freshman year, I related to this all too well. Coming from a really small town on the outskirts of Tulsa, I didn’t know anyone else in Norman. My twin brother and I were the first ones to go to college. I want to share a few tips that we learned to help you get out of your shell and make new friends:

  • Hang out on your floor’s lounge
    • Hanging out in your lounge helps people seem more approachable. They also feel more comfortable striking up a conversation. A person can easily sit across and talk to you. You can also invite people to study with you in the lounge. One thing some students forget is that communication is a two-way street. Sometimes you’ll need to make the first effort in communicating with new people, but it pays off.
  • Get off of your phone
    • This one will be a little awkward at first, but it will be helpful. If you are off of your phone, you are less distracted and more aware of people that might want to talk or strike up a conversation.
  • Join a group or club
    • This suggestion is the easiest. It might be the hardest, but it is also the easiest. Whether it be a religious group, school-related group, a video game group or a Greek organization, explore the student organizations that you could get involved with. Whatever it might be or whoever it might be with, you are forcing yourself to interact with people that have similar interests. You can view registered student groups through OrgSync.
  • Hangout in your center’s lobby or in high traffic areas
    • This is easy, but it does take a lot of initiative. One thing I did during my freshman year was spending time in the lobby. I played ping pong with whoever wanted to play. Eventually, there was a group of about 10 of us and we would frequently stay up until 1 a.m. getting to know each other. Some of those people are still my best friends.
  • Volunteer
    • Volunteering is an excellent way to get involved. Big Event is a great way to connect with people who share a similar passion and work towards the same goal. A sense of unity is great for building friendships.
  • Get a job on campus
    • Getting a job on campus helps you meet other students, and it is a great way to make money, bolster your resume and gain some good experience. You will also be more aware of what’s going on around campus. Look for positions at jobs.ou.edu.

These are just a few things that helped me make friends during my freshman year. One last thing to remember is that you aren’t alone. If you’re feeling lonely, I guarantee you that other students feel very similar to how you feel and would like to make more friends, too. So, with all of this said, go out there and start making some new friends!

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