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Navigating New Life: Making Friends

Aidan explains the many ways in which First-year students make friends!

Aidan explains the many ways in which First-year students make friends!

Imagine yourself: your mom and dad just moved you into your fancy new Watson triple and you’re about to say goodbye. If you’re like me, you are probably sad about being away from your parents, but equally excited to meet new people and make new friends! And then it strikes you… how do I make friends? With college being so different from high school it can sometimes feel impossible, but I promise it isn’t. Look at me! I’m a junior now with tons of friends. I’ll give you some tips on how to make the process seem easier!

Day 1: New Student Week (NSW)

Luckily for every Carleton student, you will—almost guaranteed—leave the very first day of school with new friends. There are two main ways you will meet people during this period: your New Student Week Group and your dorm floor. Luckily these two groups will have very little to zero overlaps in people so you get to meet the maximum number of people possible. If you want to meet even more people you meet, you could choose to live on a First-Year only floor so everyone is in the same spot looking to make friends.

friends freshman year
Me and one of my friends I met on my very first day!

There will be plenty of activities which you all do together during NSW. Admittedly, not all are exciting but maybe they will give you something to talk about! Some highlights are definitely NOlympics and the Talent Show. Just remember this is the least amount of homework you will ever have at Carleton so you should make the most of it! Talk to those people and get out there! Maybe join a club or two along the way.

Week 1: Going to School

Now you’ve made it past your first week of built-in time with friends. You’re gonna start meeting a bunch of non-first years during this period, but don’t worry! There is still your A&I seminar which will only be for other First-Year students. These people will no doubt become your fast friends, but don’t be scared to talk to the upperclassmen too! I know I am always looking to make new friends and at least someone to study with. 

epic student workers
Me and my friend Aria, who I met working freshman year!

Everyone at Carleton is really nice so just ask that person to have lunch with you! Ask if they want to study together. You get it. Even if you head into the dining hall alone, there’s always someone—usually several people—there to eat with. Everyone’s going to start getting into their groove and you’re probably going to be finding the same friends everywhere. Between me and you though, the real social hubs are Fourth Libe and Sayles… So if you’re ever looking to chat with a friend you know where to look!

Don’t Stress!

If I can tell you one thing today. Just don’t stress! I know going up and talking to people is hard, but I promise that they want to talk to you too. Carleton makes it so easy to make friends. Clubs, class, housing, NSW, etc. Take advantage of all of these things and you’ll be positively rolling in friendships. Best of luck to you all!



Aidan (he/him) is a junior from Batavia, IL coming back to Northfield after a semester off-campus in Paris. He is a Religion and French and Francophone Studies double major with a passion for ceramics. Outside of class, he enjoys spending his time cooking, hanging out with his housemates in the Culinary Interest House, and performing in Carleton’s sketch comedy group. You can often find him at the campuses’ two dining halls chatting with other students while working as a student dining hall manager.