Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

First Week Survival Guide: Meeting People

Courtesy of Photostock

Whether you come to UMass with 99 per cent of your high school class or knowing no one at all, one of the great questions everyone asks is “how will I meet people?” The fear is understandable. Humans are creatures of habit, and a new school with new people in a new place is anything but the same old habit. Well, fear not. As someone who arrived at UMass for fall semester 2009, without even an acquaintance, I can reassure you that this is a place where making friends comes with minimal effort, if you know how to go about it.

Keep your door open

It sounds simple, right? Well, it is. People are friendlier when they see an open door, especially in the first week. It says, “I am open to meeting you.” You do not even need to seek people out. They come to you. It must be stated that this works better in some buildings over others. In Sylvan, for example, it will only allow you to meet those in the same cluster of rooms as you. Living off campus? No problem. There are still plenty of other ways to meet new people.

Get involved with your major

Do this as soon as possible. This was the mistake I made. I am a theater major, but I waited until my second semester to work backstage. It was a moment of clarity. Oh, so this is where everyone has been. I met incredible people there that I am still friends with a year and a half later. I went on to work on other shows with many of them. In a science field? Get involved with an extracurricular lab. Are you in Stockbridge? Spend some time at Hadley Farm, the Franklin Permaculture garden or any of of the other UMass agricultural initiatives. If you are undecided, spend some time at undergraduate advising, where you will meet others in the same boat.

Join an RSO

If you have interests outside of your major, Registered Student Organizations or RSOs are for you. They are the UMass equivalent of clubs. With RSOs ranging from a cappella singing groups to the University Programming Council to the Quidditch club, there is something for everyone. There are intramural teams for numerous sports. If you want to know more about a particular group or just want to see what is out there, many RSOs will be at the Activities Expo on Wednesday, Sept. 7 at 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Talk to people

The semester has barely begun. Talk to the people in your classes. Not only are they a potential friend, but they may be a good person to study with and get notes from if you miss class. This works particularly well in general education courses, where there is a wide variety of people, many of whom do not know each other. It is also an opportunity to meet people outside of your major. A little diversity never hurt anyone.

None of these ideas require much effort. Open a door. Ask your professor a question. Walk to the library on Wednesday. Talk to people. By doing this you will not have to worry about that newcomerʼs fear of making friends. They will all but come to you.

Alissa can be reached for comment at [email protected]


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    Phyllis KalbSep 12, 2011 at 11:58 am

    What a great way to open the door to friendship! Alissa knows how to make and keep friends because of her wonderful qualities of warmth and friendliness, and also to the ability to make others feel good about themselves.
    Keep writing Alissa – you have a lot to share with others!