7 Great Cocurricular Opportunites for Meeting New People
Making new friends isn't easy. Wouldn't life be simpler if you could pass a potential pal one of those "Want to be friends? Check yes, no, or maybe" notes circa elementary school? Elementary school friendship was easy. You befriended whomever sat next to you, liked the same dinosaur as you did, or laughed when someone said the word booger. Actually, that's not a half bad recipe for adult friendship, either. For all the awkwardness that accompanies meeting new people—fake laughing, the sweat-inducing "handshake vs. hug" goodbye dilemma, nervously talking about different types of cheeses to fill conversational gaps—taking the chance is worth it, because, as the saying goes, a stranger's just a friend you haven't met yet! Although, counterpoint: stranger danger. So basically after five minutes you've either made a new friend or RUN! DROP EVERYTHING AND RUN.
One of the most organic ways to meet new people is to get involved in a few of your university's cocurricular activities. Here are a few we suggest!
1. Join your school's sketch or improv team
Are you a fan of hijinks? Silly question. Of course you are, because you're not a MONSTER. Something magical happens when you attempt to create something funny with a group of people. A connection, a type of mental two straws, one milkshake situation. Joining a sketch or improv team is a great way to combat the stress of college. It's just like the book Eat, Pray, Love, Sketch/Improv advises: "After eating, praying, and loving, try sketch or improv! It's bones of fun!"
Eat, Pray, Love, Sketch/Improv is a strange, strange book.
2. Student Employment opportunities
The workplace is a perfect opportunity to form a new friendship. Proximity and similarity are important bonding mechanisms, and a new job provides an opportunity for both. Plus, dolla dolla bills, y'all. It's often difficult to find common ground when you meet someone new, but you and your new coworker already share a very powerful bond, one you may experience many a time in your adult life: a distaste for your boss. Many a friendship has been formed by good-natured mockery of the big cheese. Bonus points if you find a job that will look good on your resume. For example, if you take a job with the school paper, not only will you increase your chances of finding employment after you graduate, you may also have the opportunity to yell, "Extra, extra read all about it! Dean arrested for being a literal cat burglar!" Though this is assuming your Dean is a covert ne'er-do-well who steals cats.
3. Intramural sports
Those who sport, sport. Those who can't sport, intramural sport. Nonsensical gibberish aside, you don't need to be Peyton Manning or Larry Basketball to join an intramural team. Wiffle ball, kickball, and a variety of other fringe sports are not only tons of fun, but they also force you to become socially interactive. Break down the walls of your comfort zone by dodging a ball and connecting with friendship.
4. Community service/volunteer work
SparkLife readers are smart. You don't need us to explain to you the benefits of volunteer work. Instead, here's a picture of a karate cat. Me-Ya!
5. Take an art class
When I was in middle school I attempted to make my mom a coffee mug in art class but accidentally made it two sizes too big. Also, I didn't let the clay dry long enough, so it gave my mom's morning java a distinct clay flavor, which I tried to deceive her into believing was just a fun new type of hazelnut. She didn't buy it, so we turned the mug into a makeshift vase...and then all the flowers we placed in it died. Wait, did I tell this story before? What does it say about me that I'm repeating a 15-year-old story about making a mutilated mug? Am I the weird guy in the park who offers people candy canes and screams about how I invented crayons?
Many schools offer various arts and/or crafts classes that encourage strangers to interact as well as transform even the most inept artist from a Martha Poo-wart into a Martha Stewart.
I resign from SparkLife.
6. Sign up with your school's television station
J to the K you guys, I'm back! Not only does this demonstrate exceptional initiative on a resume, but it also allows you the opportunity to be a minor campus celebrity. You could potentially become the, "Wait, do I know you?" of your university!
7. Audition for a theater production
Joining the cast of a play, no matter how big or small, is an experience that can turn complete strangers into a close-knit group of friends. Being part of a team is like a relationship accelerator. Not only is it a great place to make new friends and potentially find a significant other, but it's also so much capital letter Fun. Allow us to flippantly generalize an entire assortment of kids: theater folk are generally good eggs. Fun, passionate students. The camaraderie between a group of strangers thrown together and forced to produce a play is a fantastic building block for a potential friendship.
What's your best tip for meeting new friends?