College is the time to experiment and make valuable friendships. It is the time to expand your knowledge and learn more about yourself as an individual. Nonetheless, with the semester ahead affected by the COVID-19 pandemic there are a lot of uncertainties and new experiences to overcome. Not just the orthodox ones, such as finding your way around campus, knowing where to park, or having difficult professors. Due to the current circumstances, UWM and colleges across the nation alike are trying to have as many classes online as possible to combat and prevent the increase of Covid cases.
The cancellations of many activities, enforced social distancing and the new course expectations, although important, are massive hindrances to growing social circles. Making new friends or connections will be incredibly difficult, especially for incoming freshmen or people transferring to different schools.
However, there are still an abundance of ways to make long-lasting friendships on campus whilst also remaining safe.
- Posting in a university or class page
A lot of these groups can be found on Facebook whether it be for Milwaukee students, a specific college, or class of individuals. Posting a few images of yourself and sharing your interests can open you up to new individuals with commonalities. There are also pages on Instagram called ‘uwmclassof2024’ and ‘uwmclassof2023’ for students to familiarize themselves with the faces of their classmates.
- Reach out to some of your peers directly on social media
A lot of students put their colleges in their Instagram bio. Reach out to them or bring up something you have in common with them that you noticed in one of their Instagram photos. They could be having trouble making friends as well so don’t ever be afraid to branch out a little.
- Join an on-campus activity
Although Covid has limited the amount of activities this year, there are still many opportunities to explore. You could join a club (cough cough—the UWM Post), sport, or volunteer to help you meet new people with similar interests. Even getting an on-campus job can better acquaint you with your coworkers and help you make connections that way.
- Friends of friends
Find times to do things with your friends (whilst social distancing) and perhaps have them invite one of their friends. It’s a rather easy way to meet people and one in which you’ll probably feel more comfortable if a friend is around.
- Form an online study group
This is an easy way to go from studying and getting to know people through class to spending time with them outside of class. The best way to do this now is to make a private zoom for the study group to get together and review material. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses so it’s common to form groups within courses. Take advantage of this opportunity and invite them to do a takeout picnic sometime.
- Check out the Resource Centers
They have resources available for people who are looking for support. You will be able to find like-minded individuals there or even a place you feel comfortable going. Look into stopping into the various Resource Centers on campus for more information.
7. Dating Apps
Certain apps such as Bumble have a separate setting for friends only. The app allows you to answer questions about yourself and in turn, learn about others in your community. This way of meeting people is like ‘window-shopping’ for new besties in your area. Remember to be cautious when meeting up with people or telling others personal information about yourself. Although these apps are useful, it’s always important that you are safe online.
This year thus far has been crazy, but it doesn’t mean there isn’t room to adapt. Plus, it’s a lot easier to endure with a support system or simply a friend with a good ear. However, with current circumstances, making friends for those who are new or returning to campus can be difficult, but not impossible. Make sure to look into the ideas listed above and remember to socialize safely this coming semester.