“How the heck does everyone around me have a million friends?” I see it all of the time in school. Literally pods of students all together, seemingly having a great time with their friends. In undergrad, I wanted that so much. In grad school, I just want to be able to talk with a few people, not a whole group. But how are these people making so many friends? That, I cannot answer, but I can give tips on how to make really great friends, something I will cherish way more than having a bunch of people that you aren’t that close with.
It has taken me about three years to establish a really good friends group. It mostly consists of max five people, but they are all people that I genuinely like and know on a deeper level. Grad school can be extremely tough to make friends. If you are a PhD candidate, like me, it can me almost impossible since you will spend a great amount of time alone. But with a little persistence and some courage, I guarantee that you will find friends.
Ways on how to make friends in grad school
1. Join a sports league
Sports clubs are super easy to join and frankly you don’t have to put that much effort into it. Sports leagues/intermural leagues are a great way to make friends. There are millions of sports leagues at school. You can find everything from kickball to baseball, to even Quidditch. I am currently on a kickball team with people that are my age, drinking, and having fun. We go to get drinks after games each week and they have even invited me to parties.
2. Get a part-time job
This is a bit tricky in grad school because your adviser may say it breaches contract or you may not graduate on time. Luckily for me, my adviser doesn’t care unless it’s between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm. As I have stated, I am a personal trainer so my hours of work are later. Jobs are great because you will spend a ton of time with people, mostly students in a college town, but also some older people too. Some of my closest friends that I have are from a job I had in undergrad.
I don’t have a lot of experience using this but I know people that swear by it. This one takes a bit of courage because you may be meeting a ton of people for the first time and that can cause a great amount of anxiety. Heck, my anxiety is the reason I don’t use this. Meetup does a great job of bringing people with similar interests together, and honestly, that’s what you want in friends.
Blogging can introduce you to so many people in the world. I have just started but I can definitely see how I can make a ton of friends with what I am doing. The interactions that I have with people are just truly amazing and I think this is a fantastic way to make friends. You will be surprised how easy it is to meet people while blogging. Most of the time it will be over the internet. But internet buddies are cool too.
5. Having a roommate
This one may require some luck if you have roommate matching. If not, and you can pick your roommate, then this is way easier to make a friend. I have friends all over the world that used to live with me that I call friends. By being forced to live with someone, you see how they actually are, all the time. You develop a deeper relationship with the person and that can be a good or bad thing lol. I have had some amazing roommates that are close friends. But be warned…friends might not always make good roommates!!!
6. Make Friends with your office mates
You will most likely spend a ton of time with people that share your office. This is a great opportunity to make really good friends. You will most likely be able to bond over how bad and hard rad school is. You will also get to know them much better because they are around you all of the time. I have made some great friendships with people that have shared my office with me.
7. Get involved in clubs.
Clubs are a great way to meet like minded individuals that want to do something fun. In college, you will literally have 300+ clubs on campus. There is a club for any interest that you have. Grad students also have their own clubs too. This makes it pretty easy to meet other grad students and make lasting friendships with them. I highly recommend joining clubs or just attending at least one or two of their meetings.
8. Go to events held at your apartments
If you live in an apartment, you probably have noticed a ton of fliers around to do activities in your complex. Go to these events! At my apartment, we have events every week. This is a great opportunity to make friends and possibly win some prizes as well. I go to bingo night and they give gift cards, so it’s definitely a good time lol.
Anyway, this was a short list of ways on how to make friends in grad school. It’s hard, but with a bit of work and luck, you can have amazing relationships with people. Let me know how you make friends or if you want to be my friend! Making friends while in grad school is a great opportunity to reduce stress, have fun, and make the whole experience a bit better. Grad school is hard, having friends to cope with the struggles makes it way better. I hope you all have a wonderful day and I will see you in the next blog.
I am new here! What do you study in grad school?
I am doing my doctorate in environmental engineering, with a focus on biogeochemistry.
I don’t know where you are spiritually, but church can be a great place to meet people and make new friends. When I was working on my M.A. many years ago, I also made some great friends in my dorm (yes, I loved living there!) and my classes.
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