Author: Juri. A
Editor: Karen. W
Translator: Trang D.
Where to make friends on campus?
We are well into the spring break, and after that is graduation time for many fourth-year students. In 2020 classes were offered online for the whole year, and in 2021 the class structure changed into a combination of online/ in-person and on-demand. Compared to previous years, the opportunities to interact with other people, which is one of the best parts of college life, were reduced greatly. Many may wonder, how the students who were enjoying lunchtime with their friends, greeted fellow students when passing by on campus, or approached in every class they took made friends at TIU? Yours truly, who is very reserved and only has a few friends in school, had short interviews with some students who are considered “masters in socializing” and have a lot of friends. To overcome the distance between humans resulting from the pandemic and to have a more fulfilling campus life, let’s take a look at how these students spend their time on TIU campus. Let’s take their strategies as hints to a better college experience!
The first person I would like to introduce to you is Tamaki Hiraide, a third-year student in the Department of International Media Studies, International Relations major. When she walks around campus, she has such a wide network of friends that she often stops by to greet them. She says, “I’ve been able to build friendships since the new semester started. I am open to new opportunities, which allows me to actively challenge myself at any given time.”
When she was a freshman, she joined a cultural club on campus with the hopes of gaining a sense of belonging at TIU. During the club activities, she actively talked to people around her, regardless of whether they were her seniors or juniors, and asked questions about club activities, classes, or private matters as well. TIU has many clubs, such as sports clubs and culture clubs, which allow for students to meet one another and have joyful moments together.
In her second year, Tamaki was not able to participate in club activities as much as she wanted to due to COVID-19. However, in her third year, she participated in the COC Project, a tourism project aiming at reviving the city by planning events and implementing proposed plans. In the past, she knew a lot of senior students, but as the school years passed by and younger students turned into juniors, her acquaintances broadened and she was able to make connections with students of all years.
The second person I would like to introduce is Koki Yanagisawa, a third-year student in the Department of English Communication, Language and Communication major. He is currently a member of TEDxTIU, a club where TIU students gather and organize TEDx events. Koki used to be an intern of the English Plaza team as well.
He says, “I joined a community that interests me and provokes my desire to try different things, rather than just trying to make friends.” Back in the day when he usually drop by the Oregon Café inside the English Plaza, which is now temporarily closed due to COVID, he would ask international students, “What are you drinking? What did you do in class today?” In the beginning, he had a lot of small talk, but with the motivation of “challenging myself to have difficult conversations with international students,” he made great efforts to speak in high-level English at the Oregon Café with English-speaking students. This was an important part of his English learning process. As he engaged in more and more conversation with his peers, he found the people that he likes talking to and became friends with them.
The third and final person we’d like to introduce is Chiemi Magallanesu, a first-year student in the Department of English Communication, Language and Communication major, and a member of ESS. She has a lot of friends, with her attractive qualities such as friendliness, humor, and energy.
In order to learn English, Magallanesu often joins the group of international students at the Student Plaza on TIU campus, even when she has never talked to them before, and has conversations with them. Magayanesu says, “that’s how I expanded my network.” And according to her experience, “Her Instagram QR code is very useful in making new friends!”
Chiemi Magallanesu started using Instagram after entering university, and now she has more than 1,000 followers. She says that she has made many friends through Instagram connections and that she has been able to hang out with many TIU students in person. Whenever she has questions about any of her class, she usually asks anyone in the same class with her or her friends, and uses it as a chance to socialize.
[Conclusion] How to make friends at TIU:
The three students who were interviewed for this article had the following three points in common:
- Joined a club or a community
- Actively talked to others in their classes, clubs, or groups on campus
- Acted on their own initiatives
From this, it is clear that people who have many friends do not just stand still and wait for others to come to them, but rather initiate the interactions and go to places where they can meet people. If you are in a place where there is little interaction or limited socializing opportunities, there will be fewer chances to make friends. There may be several people who can become good friends and have many things in common with you, but you just haven’t met them yet. It might be a good idea to step out of your comfort zone and to reach out to those future friends that you haven’t talked to yet!
Let’s all keep in mind how the aforementioned students have been spending their time at school, take the shot to make friends, and make the most out of your college life.