Making new friends is survival

Jessica Renner

Meeting new people, taking chances are part of the experience

Sometimes the college environment can be overwhelming for incoming students, but taking advantage of opportunities to meet new people is vital for freshmen to make new friends.

Psychologist Pamela Farer-Singleton, who works at the DeWeese Health Center, said students should be willing to take the risk of putting themselves out there when trying to make new friends.

Farer-Singleton said new students can relate to each other about many things. For most of them, it is their first time moving away from home and leaving friends and family behind.

“Everyone is pretty much in the same spot,” Singleton said.

She advised students to avoid staying in their dorm rooms all the time, focusing only on things and people left behind in a hometown. On-campus activities may lead to students forgetting about how much they miss home and allow them to make their new home right here at Kent.

“They create activities to enjoy on campus and on the weekends,” Farer-Singleton said.

Once freshmen are able to overcome potential initial shyness, there are many ways for them to flourish, Farer-Singleton said.

“It is one of the most important times of someone’s life,” she said. “It is a time of real growth when people challenge their own values as sensible and have opportunities to take on thoughts and different opinions that other people have.”

Junior Spanish major Jacquie Fry said being open to others helped her make friends when first coming to Kent.

“I would tell freshmen to be outgoing and talkative in class or in the dorm,” Fry said.

Senior nutrition major Michael Bird said he met many people by talking with them in class. Just asking about assignments or what was going on in class allowed him to find a bond between himself and classmates.

During his first year, Bird said he was not content with the amount of friends he made, so he started getting involved in a lot of extracurricular activities. He helped with Habitat for Humanity, joined a club sport and joined a club for students in the nutrition program.

“Extra activities make college more exciting,” Bird said. “If all you do is go to class and go home to do your homework, it can get depressing.”

Farer-Singleton suggested students join groups and clubs or attend meetings that are going on around campus. A lot of these groups are free for students, and they span a wide range of interests.

Students can attend religious and cultural groups, volunteer programs and sporting events at little to no cost to them. Singleton said these events give freshmen the opportunity to meet people with similar interests, and these connections can potentially blossom into friendships.

“The way you make friends is by building memories,” Farer-Singleton said.

Farer-Singleton said students should not be intimidated by the new mass of people that surrounds them when coming to college.

“The college’s diversity is to be enjoyed,” she said. “Why not check it out?”

Contact social services reporter Jessica Renner at