Veronica With Four Eyes

Making Friends In College Without Social Media

When I first started college, I didn’t have any social media accounts like a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, all of which are common methods for meeting other college students or making friends before starting school. Even though there are many accessibility features that make social media websites accessible to people with vision loss, I found a few different strategies for making friends in college without social media or meeting people online. Here are my tips for how to make friends in college without social media, and how I made friends with low vision.

Talk to people after class introductions

On the first day of my English class, my professor had students share who their most influential English teacher was in high school. After sharing my answer, another student shared that they had the same teacher as me when they taught at a different school, and approached me after class to talk more- this person became one of the very first friends I met in college. In another one of my classes, a different student shared they were from the same town where my high school best friend was attending college, so I decided to approach them after class and share a funny story from my friend about the first time they went to visit. This person and I became great friends, and they introduced me to many other people who would become my friends as well.

Approaching students after introductions on the first day of class is a great way to make friends with shared interests or that are from a similar geographic area. I’ve had many interesting conversations with people that were prompted by introductions on the first day of class!

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Go to floor events and meetings, or hang out in the halls

A lot of students will hang out in the common room or in the hallways talking to other students, or looking for people to talk to, and the same is true for floor events and meetings. I made several friends during my freshman year through talking to people in the halls or going to floor events, or leaving a note on my door inviting people to knock if they wanted to talk or hang out.

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Sit next to people in the dining hall

I made several friends in college that I still talk to today by sitting across from them or taking an empty seat in the crowded dining hall. This was especially helpful for meeting other students with vision loss like me, as they often would sit towards the front of the hall or I would notice different staff members helping them. While there’s nothing wrong with sitting alone in the dining hall, I would take the opportunity to talk to other students or sit with friends or friends of friends.

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Check out different clubs and events

There are a ton of different clubs and events going on at my college on any given day, and I tried out a few different extracurriculars to meet other students and explore different interests, such as a student-run think tank, a swing dance club, and a few others. Sometimes I would join clubs without knowing anyone else in them, and for others I would join with a friend who was interested in trying something new with me. I would also attend events that my friends were participating in such as dance recitals, cultural nights, speaking events, and others.

My college has a few different ways for finding out about clubs and events, including websites for students, an online calendar of everything going on, and physical posters such as those on a bulletin board or that are painted on large blocks outside the student center. However, a lot of times I found out about events by asking friends or neighbors “what are you doing this weekend?”

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Join the hall group chat

Another popular way to make friends without social media, the hall group chat was run by the resident advisor and gave students an opportunity to communicate with each other, share information about events, and find someone to go to the dining hall with. Students can join the hall group chat either by text or through a chat application like GroupMe, which is what was used for my freshman dorm group chat. Reading profiles and messages from other students made me feel more comfortable approaching them or talking to them, and helped me learn how to identify my neighbors as well.

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Have items that show off different interests

Another fun way to strike up conversations is to decorate items like laptops, dorm room/dorm doors, and other items with stickers, posters, or other items that show off different interests, or wearing clothes that feature favorite bands, movies, or shows. As an example, I purchased a few different t-shirts with my favorite musicians like The Beatles, David Bowie, Queen, Bon Jovi, and The Police, and often had people come talk to me about their favorite songs or albums from these artists. In some cases, I would invite people to watch concert videos from these artists as well- one of my friends and I got to watch a Bon Jovi livestream together as a result.

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Take classes with a social component, like band

I was a member of my college pep band, Green Machine, which provides arts credits as part of the core curriculum and an amazing opportunity to make friends- in fact, Green Machine introduced me to many long-time best friends that I still talk to every day. Other classes with a social component can include dance, special topics courses, fitness classes, and literature classes- for example, I met several friends in a disability literature class.

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Make plans and invite friends of friends to join in

Whether it was a trip to the dining hall or getting free tickets to a performing arts event, I would invite friends to go with me and invite them to invite some of their friends as well, which was a great way to meet other students from outside of my major that I might not meet otherwise. This was especially fun when going to the dining hall as it was a chance to talk and get to know people in a casual setting, and this is how I met several people that lived in nearby dorms or were part of clubs that my friends participated in.

Don’t be afraid to give compliments

Several of my friendships in college started when one person gave a compliment to another person about something, whether it was something they were wearing, an interesting looking item in the dining hall, or finding something they mentioned in class to be really interesting. If I thought that someone seemed like they would be cool to talk to, I would tell them, and this would often lead to talking after class or an invite to hang out outside of class.

More tips for making friends in college without social media

  • Many colleges offer day trips to museums or other off-campus locations, which can be a fun way to travel with a group or get to know other students with a shared interest
  • Department events are a fun way to meet other students and professors from within the major or from similar majors- for example, the data science department would host their own events as well as co-host events with the College of Science
  • When I first started at my college, I didn’t have any friends from high school that were going to the same college as me, but eventually I had some younger friends that would attend the same college later on
  • Disability Services hosts events for students to meet others that have the same disability, or that have disabilities in general
  • During my fourth year of college, my brother also started attending the same college- learn more about this in Tips For Siblings Going To The Same College
  • There are several accessibility features for using social media with vision loss for students interested in making accounts. Check out my posts Twitter Accessibility Features For Low VisionHow To Make Your Instagram Feed Accessible For Visual Impairment, and How To Add Alt Text On Social Media

Here are ways to make friends in college without social media or online profiles