Let’s be friends: why relationships matter

Look, sometimes making a new friend in college is insanely easy. You might get lucky and the person you're roommates with or who you were partenered with for a group project is instant "perfect friend" material.

Some of the best relationships can start off this way. If this has happened to you, the stars have aligned in your favor, so count yourself #blessed.

But what if this hasn’t happened for you or hasn’t happened in a while? What if it doesn’t seem like you’re having much luck in the friendship department?

Well, first of all, don’t think that a lack of serendipitous new friendships is a sign that you are broken in some way or don’t fit in.

And second, definitely don’t think that you should hide or give up — because friendships are a huge part of the college experience.

Researchers have reported that when they asked graduates to share their experiences in college, instead of talking about themselves and their accomplishments in isolation, respondents would talk about the people that surrounded them and how those people shaped their college experience.

In fact, the same study suggests that there is a connection between meaningful relationships in college and a student's success.

In other words, success in college is not just about what you accomplish through your individual effort, it’s about the people you interact with — the friends, mentors, faculty and so on — along the way.

This makes sense when you think about it.

People help us through our difficulties. They show us new perspectives or new behaviors that ultimately help us grow, and they introduce us to others who then increase our network.

So if you’re not feeling strong friend-vibes with the people you’ve met so far, it’s worth it to keep looking!

Not sure where to start? We’ve got some tips to help you find your fit at ASU:

Take a deep breath and be yourself.

You don’t need to be anyone but yourself. Remember that ASU is a large community. The people who will appreciate the authentic you are out there.

Send the right signals.

If you’re interested in finding friends, keep your room door open, hang out before or after class, and definitely take advantage of invites from others (if you can). The point is, if you’re always too busy, you're sending the message that you aren’t interested in friendship.

Look outside your hall/major/campus.

There are no rules that your friends have to be in your major/campus/hall. Getting involved outside of your immediate bubbles can expose you to people with other things in common. Think clubs, athletics, or events on and off campus. You can take a fitness class at the SDFC or sign up as a free agent for an intramural sports team.

Focus on low-risk invites.

It can be intimidating to ask people to hang out, so be brave and focus on low risk invites. Coffee or lunch are obvious options, but also consider free or inexpensive events on campus like an opening/closing event at the ASU art museum, or seeing one of the 3D Astronomy shows. Check out the ASU Events calendar or Sun Devil Sync to see what's coming up.

Connect with a professor, TA, dean or director.

A recent survey found college grads that felt emotionally supported by a professor or mentor led to long-term personal and professional success. It's a benefit to you to introduce yourself to your instructors and leadership. Go to office hours, invite your dean to coffee, or send your professor an email about a lecture they gave that you really liked. They want you to succeed.

Get a part-time job or volunteer on campus.

Even just putting in a few hours a week will allow you to broaden your circle of connections. Check ASU's job search or volunteer opportunities and see if something interests you.

Ultimately, the relationships you make while you're at ASU can contribute to your personal, academic and professional success. So get involved, make those connections and build your Sun Devil network.



Adulting 101

Sun Devils turn to ASU Adulting 101 to learn (some of) the things not taught in class. Not sure about how to do something? Need to connect with an expert? We got you.


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