Starting at a new school can be intimidating, especially if you are a college transfer student. It can take a lot of time to adjust to your classes and living situation, among other things. As a transfer student myself, the hardest adjustment I faced was making new friends. Of course I had friends from the previous college I attended, but I wanted to branch out and connect with people on campus so that I could truly feel at home. During my first semester at the University of Massachusetts, I made some amazing friends, and it was easier than I thought it would be. If you are a transfer student struggling to make friends at your new campus, don't worry! Here are some ways you can make new friends:
1. Talk to your classmates
The first friends I ever made at UMass Amherst were classmates in my statistics class. My professor had us sit at round tables and complete our work in groups. With this setup, I talked to the people at my table during every class session. By the end of the semester, I had three new friends — one of which is my roommate this year. If you have a class where you sit in groups, in lecture hall seating, or even at individual desks, don't be afraid to start a conversation with those around you. One of your classmates could become one of your best friends!
2. Join a club or organization
One of the easiest ways to make friends at college is to join a group that interests you. Fun fact: there are over 200 clubs on campus! From dance clubs, to fraternities and sororities, to the Student Government Association, there is something at UMass Amherst for everyone, including transfer students. During my first semester on campus, I decided to join the Irish Dance Club. I had been an Irish dancer for 13 years and was sad when I stopped dancing after high school, but I was estatic to learn that there was a club at UMass Amherst. Through joining the club, I met people who shared the same passion of dancing as me. Although we are not all in the same major or class year, we bonded over one interest - Irish dancing - and learned we have other similar interests as well.
3. Play on a sports team
Joining a sports team is a fun way to make new friends on campus. If you played on an athletic team for your previous college or university, consider playing for a Division 1 sports team at UMass Amherst! If you prefer a more laid back way to play, there are many on-campus intramural teams looking for new players. No matter how you play, getting involved in athletics is a great way to meet students from all different class years and majors. With the many hours spent working out, practicing, and playing games, you are sure to bond with some of your teammates. My roommate, who is a transfer student that plays many intramural sports, told me that being part of a campus sports team is like being part of a family.
4. Live in a Defined Residential Community
Defined Residential Communities (DRCs) are areas in residence halls where students live with hall mates who share similar backgrounds or interests. These living areas are designed to promote personal growth and success, while creating communities that students can really feel welcome in. There are many different DRCs at UMass Amherst, including an Asian/Asian American community, an LGBTQIA+ community, a wellness community, and many more. DRC's bring students with similar interests and backgrounds together, making it very easy to connect with other students and create new friendships.
If you are a transfer student, I hope you found these tips helpful. I know transferring colleges isn't always easy, but making friends at your new school doesn't have to be!