Tips for making friends from home

Media Credit: Camille DeSanto | Assistant Photo Editor

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It might seem scary to enter a new chapter without face-to-face socialization, but there are some alternatives to physical interaction.

Your classes, social media use and willingness to get involved virtually will decide how much socialization you’ll have with your peers this fall. Take out your phone or open your laptop to follow these tips for making friends in your first semester at GW.

Follow your peers on social media

This may seem like an obvious step as an incoming freshman, but connecting with your class on social media is more important than ever. You might have already made a post in the Class of 2024 Facebook page to let your classmates or prospective roommates know a little bit about you, but don’t stop the engagement there.

After you friend your peers on Facebook, take a few minutes to add some of the people you’ve connected with onto your Snapchat, or follow their Instagram and Twitter accounts. Don’t hesitate or feel as if you’re overstepping by connecting with other students – everyone’s doing it.

Form a virtual study group

Being active and social in your classes is usually an effective way to make friends any year of college. But with classes being held virtually, the opportunity to connect with peers may seem unlikely. And without effort, it will be.

At the end of the spring semester, students were forced to navigate their courses and final exams online through platforms like Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, WebEx and Zoom. Professors said the adjustment was tough but doable, while many students complained about the format and one parent even resorted to a lawsuit.

This fall, the responsibility of making online classes effective and engaging falls as much on our shoulders as it does on the professors’. Make the most of your classes by organizing virtual study groups with your peers. While you’re in a Zoom class, use the private chat to message classmates and ask if they want to form a study group. You can also find a list of your classmates’ emails on Blackboard by going to the course’s tools clicking on the roster, so you could send a group email too.

Attend student organization meetings

Fall semester is prime recruiting time for most student organizations, including The Hatchet. The annual Student Organization Fair has shifted to a virtual format, so you can meet student organizations through virtual meetings or a chatbox.

The website GW Engage can make it easy for you to keep an eye out for student organization meetings and virtual events by skimming through its events tab. You can also find groups that are interesting to you by browsing the website’s catalog of organizations. Feel free to reach out to leaders of organizations you’re interested in and ask to have a virtual coffee chat. The initiative will be appreciated and they’ll be able to help get you plugged in with the group.

Get global Tinder and set your location to D.C.

You might be bummed that there’s no chance for a freshman year romance, but don’t give up hope. Tinder offers an in-app purchase called Tinder Passport, which allows users to explore matches in cities where they don’t currently live.

If you were lucky, you could have tried the feature for free in April during its month-long promotion. Now, you’ll need to invest $9.99 a month, which is comparable to a Spotify Premium subscription. You will automatically be able to peruse Tinder members that already live in D.C., like some upperclassmen or students from the area.

Whether you’re looking for a serious virtual relationship, pure flirtation or just another way to meet friends, Tinder Passport opens up a new opportunity for socializing with peers. Plus, some matches this fall could set you up for a smoother transition to campus.

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