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how to meet new people [lifestyle]

socializing as a spring transfer

Did you transfer here midyear and feel so utterly alone? Do you hang out with people that you enjoy, but at the same time feel that nobody truly knows you? There’s a difference between meeting and knowing people. Every day, you introduce yourself and go through the list: name, year, pronouns, and the dreaded fun fact that no one ever remembers. At this point, it has become a part of your daily routine, yet it’s still a daunting process because you want to make a good impression and are trying to find your niche. As a result, I present a guide on the best ways to meet new people––not to be confused with knowing people––from one socially awkward girlie to another. 

1. DM friends of friends prior to arrival.

It seems like everyone’s high school best friend goes here, so you followed a lot of new people on Instagram in December. As January rolled around, you slid into DMs harder than when you fell on black ice during the orientation campus tour. Unfortunately, since most of these conversations took place online before getting to campus, they never got deeper than “Where are you living?” It never hurts to network, but saying “we should grab a meal” is like saying you’re doing well when someone asks how you are doing. It’s reflexive, hollow––polite.


2. Once classes start, change spots everyday in your lecture.

During shopping period, you didn’t even try to talk to your neighbor, because the odds of both of you staying in the class were low. As you settle into your schedule, you have to juggle seeing the board and having a swift exit strategy to make it to your next class. By trying every spot in the room, you check out the options, and every day you get to sit next to someone new. This should mean that you get to meet everyone, but in reality, it ensures that no one will remember who you are. The class is large, and if you do not have an established spot in the room, you are less memorable to the people around you. Bonus points if you immediately scurry out of the room while looking at your phone when the bell rings.

3. Join more clubs than you could possibly reasonably manage.

One perk of being a transfer student is the opportunity to try something new. At your old school, there were numerous clorgs (clubs and organizations) that you thought about joining but never got around to. Good thing Brown's list of 500+ clorgs has equivalents to those and more. While most organizations say they welcome new members throughout the year, joining in the spring semester is less than ideal. Everyone is as friendly as they can be, but they already have established a flow and made memories from the fall semester that make the social circle feel impenetrable. It doesn’t help that you don’t seem to be particularly memorable. You also haven’t settled on a concentration yet, so instead of being Zoe that studies Architecture and writes for post-, you’re just the girl in the back in a black coat. After going to meeting after meeting, the people you meet start to blur. You know that your evenings are oversubscribed, but you keep showing up because you haven’t decided what you want to commit to, and you don’t know what to commit to because you don’t know who you vibe with, and you won’t know until you commit. It's quite the vicious cycle.

4. Sit with someone completely random in the Ratty.

Perhaps joining too many clubs has its perks, because someone you recognize from multiple different clubs—who also happens to live on your floor—is eating breakfast alone at the Ratty. In the seven years of living at school, you have noticed that your best friends are the ones you have breakfast with. It is secretly the most intimate meal of the day because of the combination of low energy and sparse attendance. It is an affirmation that you enjoy each other’s company, so why not continue the trend here? Establish one brekkie buddy and soon enough, everyone else will know you and before you know it, friends! Huzzah! However, this plan only works if you properly identify the person who you thought you were sitting with. Their doppelgänger does not count. Now you’ve just disturbed a stranger’s breakfast and the sound of chewing yogurt has never been so deafening.

5. Share a table at a coffee shop.


Ok, so maybe the dining hall is not the ideal place to meet people, but an off-campus coffee shop might be. To recover from the Ratty fiasco, take yourself out to get a matchreat (matcha treat). Everybody loves a good portmanteau, and I guess Ceremony too. By the mercy of god, find a table to pull out your laptop and RBF. Maybe someone with a monogrammed Brown backpack will ask to join since you are hogging an entire table. Take this opportunity to meet someone new who also took themselves out to get a matchreat. After a minute or two of chatting, you learn he’s actually a grad student who knows what it’s like to feel so, so alone. He recommends another coffee shop and you both get a productive hour or so of work done. He says goodbye, and that’s when you realize you never got his name, what he’s studying, and that coffee shop he recommended is in Federal Hill. Maybe one day you’ll run into him again sipping a matcha, but for now, he’s just an anecdote to tell over the phone. 

6. Simply run away from your problems.

Everyone these days likes to talk about wellness, so this is my wellness tip. Go on runs. Recharge your social battery by draining the physical one. There’s nothing quite like running 5.5 miles out on the East Bay Bike Path only to remember you have to run that distance back. On top of that, your running playlist is all about female rage, which makes you want to scream, kick, cry, throw up, roll around––behaviors that everyone looks for in a friend.

I knew that transferring would be tough. Integrating in the dead of winter is isolating, but I know eventually you and I will get to know people. As I keep hearing, this campus is small. There is one tip I left out because it is simultaneously the key to everything and the absolute worst thing to hear if you are actually exceptionally lonely, but here it is: time bears connection and love. I hate it when people tell me that in time, I’ll find my place because it’s stating the obvious. However, for the sake of publishing a comprehensive guide, I thought I should add it unofficially. Ultimately the goal is to have friends, but it’s worth noting that alone can mean loneliness or independence, which can be liberating. When it’s just you, there is no one holding back your agenda. You can go on little excursions whenever you want and soon enough, the people around you will want to join in on the fun.

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