Saying Hello: How to get out of your comfort zone and meet people

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Part of what makes college so great is the friendships and connections you build with people. Long after graduation, some of the people you meet may be your best friends or coworkers. For some, talking to people comes quite easily, but for others, it can be a bit of a challenge. In any case, having a successful college career involves stepping out of your comfort zoneon many fronts. It is especially important to do that when meeting new people.

There are different ways to go about doing this – some are obvious; others, not so much. The easiest way to start is to reach out to people in your classes. You will be seeing them throughout the entire semester, probably a couple times a week. Also, it is helpfulto have a buddy in class that you can rely on, in case you miss a lecture and need notes or have a question about a homework assignment, so get one or two people’s contact information early. In a lab or studio-type class, you will have to work with other students anyway. It may be more daunting in a lecture hall full of a hundred people, but it is not impossible. Make sure you introduce yourself andfind out what you have in common with your peers, as well as your differences. It is always easy to begin with things like your hometown, major, and year. Conversations of this sort can serve as a springboard for lasting friendships.

Another way to meet new people involves a little bit more work, but it is extremely rewarding: joining student organizations. There are many on campus, from cultural clubs to interest groups, professional societies to service organizations, and fraternity and sorority life. There is something for everybody!

Make sure to attend the club fair, which takes place at the beginning of every semester, to learn about the different organizations and get on their membership lists. Joining at least one is a great way to make friends. Some groups will also help you build your professional network because of their relationships with companies and/or alumni. Events held by these groups are great practice for networking!

NJIT also holds a career fair, once each semester. It is highly recommended to go and talk to employers, regardless of your major or year. You never know what opportunities you will find there. Navigating the career fair process can sometimes be scary, especially when talking to companies and recruiters, but like any interaction you will have, it is important to be yourself, while at the same time, pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone a little!

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