Congratulations on getting into Barnumbia! Now that many of you are beginning to make more definite decisions about where you’ll go to school, Required Reading’s going to start getting into the nitty gritty details about life in MoHi. Subscribe to never miss a beat.
A handful of you will be on campus this weekend for Days on Campus/Admitted Students Weekend. If you like to micromanage (we’re guessing that a lot of you do), you can get ahead of the curve by figuring out what exactly to expect, as well as how to make the most of your time.
We’ve said it over and over: Days on Campus is a great way to get a glimpse of life here at CU, but it has another useful purpose: making friends. Yes, friends, people to spend your time with so you’re not left eating in John Jay all by your lonesome.
There will be a lot of other prospies on campus this weekend, meaning that forming lasting relationships might initially seem daunting. However, with a bit of planning (and just a bit more micromanaging), you should be able to leave MoHi with a new friendship or two.
There are two ways you could approach the friend-finding sitch: You could jump into MoHi without knowing anyone and find people as you go along, or you can do a bit of preemptive scouting.
Both are reasonable tactics, but if you’re going to go with the latter method, start by clicking around your school’s Facebook group—I’m also in those groups, so I know that a ton of people have already made posts asking about who will be at Days on Campus, if there’s a GroupMe that people can join, if anyone plans on meeting up, etc.
You can always jump on one of these trains by responding to another person’s post. (Trust us, it isn’t weird—all of the people who respond to such messages never know the sender, so don’t be put off by the fact that you’ve never even met them.) The only downside to this tactic is that these posts usually get a lot of attention, and so it can be pretty difficult to really get to know someone if you’re meeting in a group of 30 as opposed to three. If you join someone else’s post, you also have to trust that they’ll keep everyone updated and actually tell you where and when you’re meeting up.
Our best advice: Don’t be afraid to make your own post in the group and ask whether people would be down to meet up. Then you’ll be responsible for actually contacting everyone, leading the discussion, setting up a place and time to meet, etc.
Coming to Days on Campus knowing a few names of people you hope to meet might alleviate some of the stress of friend-finding, but even if you do plan beforehand, don’t just limit yourself to buddying up with whoever you met in your Facebook group. There will be plenty of other fish in the MoHi sea who didn’t do this and could probably use a friendly face to chat with.
Days on Campus will probably be a lot like NSOP friend-wise: You’ll be introduced to so many people that it may be hard to really form lasting relationships, but with a little effort and strategy, it’s not impossible.
Pro tip 1: It’s easiest to find friends in small groups.
The downside to the friends-via-Facebook tactic is that you might end up in a large group, and then it’ll be harder to really get to anyone. When you come to Days on Campus, you’ll probably become closest to the people who are in your activities groups, go on tours with you, sit in on classes with you, etc.
When you break off into these groups, don’t stay uber quiet for the whole thing—look to the person on your right and start off with a simple, “Hey, how are you?” I totally get that it can seem kind of weird or uncomfortable to randomly strike up a conversation with someone you’ve never talked to before, so if it makes it makes it any better, try the “Hey, how are you?” with a group of two or three. That way if the conversation ever runs dry between you and one other person, you can count on the other group members to throw something in.
Pro tip 2: Don’t be afraid to stick around just one or two people.
In my general experience, people are nice, so if you spend the entire weekend with just one or two people, they’re not going to think you’re weird or clingy. This kind of goes with the philosophy that it’s better to have a few really close friends instead of many acquaintances. Additionally, if you limit your search to just two or three, it’s more likely that these friendships will survive post-Days on Campus.
Pro tip 3: If you’re piggybacking off of one group, make sure you include yourself in the conversation
I didn’t go to Days on Campus, but I imagine that it’s pretty similar to NSOP. As a pretty introverted person, my tactic of getting through orientation was finding a group that I didn’t interact much with, but sticking around with them gave the illusion that I wasn’t alone. Don’t do this. Some people are shyer than others, and it can be difficult to break that barrier, but if you are going to piggyback off of a group, you can’t leave it up to them to include you in the conversation. Include yourself, even if it’s just a handful of comments during lunch—no one’s going to shut you down for it.
After the Days on Campus hype is over and you’re all flying back to your respective hometowns, it can be difficult to maintain the relationships you built while you were in MoHi. On one hand, you should be realistic: Just like during NSOP, the people you meet during Days on Campus rarely become your numero uno BFFs. (Trust us, you’ll make way more lasting relationships during the regular school year.)
At the same time, however, if you met a person that you really got along well with, don’t be afraid to reach out to them after you’re back home. Continue posting in your class Facebook page, set up a group message between you and a couple of people you really hit it off with—you don’t have to talk everyday like you do with your current friends to still remain tight, but checking in every once in a while will preserve the friendship until NSOP.
If you think it’s weird to have a group chat between you and couple of people you only spent a few days with (it’s not, but if you think that), then a sly way to continue the conversation from back home is just to message them whenever you have a college-related question. “Hey, do know when the deadline is to submit our deposit?” “Hey, do you know whether we’re able to do blah blah blah in the dorms?” Simple questions, but after they respond, it’s so easy to slide on in there and be like, “Great, thanks. How have you been lately?”
The moral of the Days on Campus friends story is this: Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, and if you are afraid to put yourself out there, at least make sure you have one or two meaningful conversations during your time on campus. You should also remain realistic: If you don’t think you’re really hitting it off with anyone, that’s OK—most (if not all) of your biggest friendships will be made during the school year (not during Days on Campus, not even during NSOP), but if you do come away from the weekend with a new pal or two under your belt, make sure you put in the effort to keep in touch.
Veronica Grace Taleon is Spectrum’s editor and a Barnard sophomore. Reach her at email@example.com.