10 Tips for Making Friends at Grinnell

August 25, 2015

Get to know your roommate(s)/floormates

Offer to go to dinner or lunch together at the D-hall. Get out of the dorms and study in a cool spot like the Noyce elbow.

Getting to know the people around you can be a great way to expand your circle of friends. You can meet other people through your floormates as they invite friends over to study or hang out.

Ask your student adviser

Your floor’s student adviser can be a great resource. Grinnell doesn’t have Resident Advisers — grad students or other “authority” figures — on every floor like other schools.

Student Advisers are students like you who have recently been through the challenge of making friends in a new environment and are happy to introduce you to people. Helping you to make friends and feel comfortable in your new home is part of why they’re there, so use them!

Hang out in common areas

Instead of watching TV or Netflix by yourself, try going down to the lounge (each residence hall has at least one) or to Bob’s Underground Cafe for some R&R.

It’s a good way to let everyone know you’re open to meeting people and being social.

Keep your door open

Leaving your door open when you're hanging out in your room can be a great way to show people that you're interested in talking and making new friends.

At Grinnell, first-years are housed on floors along with students from other years, so you’ll have the chance to meet some older friends too. Just don’t forget to lock your door when you leave for class!

Join student clubs and activities

Grinnell holds a Student Activities Fair during New Student Orientation, where you can try everything from belly dancing to playing Nerf in the Noyce science building.

Sign up for things you’re interested in to meet like-minded people and try some new activities to broaden your horizons.

If there isn’t an organization for an activity or a cause you’re passionate about, start your own! Even first-year students can start organizations.

Organize study groups

Your classes are a great way to get to know people. With Grinnell’s open curriculum, the students you share classes with care about them as much as you do!

Offer to organize a study group so that you can get to know the people you sit next to in every class.

Attend campus events

Attending campus events is an awesome way to meet different people and a great way to learn about what’s happening on campus. And we’re not just talking about Harris parties!

You never know if you might hit it off with the person you sit next to at a Food House dinner or a movie night.

And did we mention that all campus events (even concerts!) are free?

Get a campus job

Whether it’s part of your financial aid package or just for extra spending money, getting a job on campus can be a wonderful way to meet other students.

Consider a job where you interact with people, like the bookstore, mailroom, or dining hall. Not only will you earn some extra cash, you’ll get to know your co-workers and meet a variety of students across different class years!


Partner with Mid-Iowa Community Action (MICA) to help families in need, or put in some time at the Poweshiek Animal League Shelter (PALS).

Finding an organization on campus or in town where you can volunteer is a great way to meet people. You'll encounter people with similar interests while doing something you care about.


Everyone around you knows what it’s like to arrive somewhere where you don’t know anyone, and they’re all probably just as nervous to make friends as you are. The more you socialize the less awkward you’ll feel.

Be yourself, and before you know it you’ll be just as comfortable in your new home as you were in your old one!

Bonus Tips: If you’re an introvert …

  • Look to see if anyone in your class year has made a group Facebook page. This can be a great way to discover people who are interesting to you without the initial awkwardness of face-to-face interactions.
  • Try to find situations with built-in conversation starters, such as student clubs and activities, so that the situation does the small talk for you.
  • Remember to build in time to recharge! Don’t feel like you have to force yourself to be social all the time in order to make friends. Give yourself permission to take a bit of time each day to be alone doing something you love: go for a run, read a book, whatever you can do to re-energize. If you want to be around people, but aren’t feeling that talkative, try hanging out on the bean bag chairs in Burling or do some reading in the Laurel Leaf Lounge.

If you give yourself time to relax, you’ll feel much more comfortable when the time for socializing comes around!

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