I'll admit that in high school I wasn't exactly the social butterfly. I had a small select group of friends, and outside of my clique I would rarely talk to others unless I had to for whatever reason. When I got to college, my feelings of being secluded and not open enough followed me. But I quickly learned that it doesn't have to be that way. Unless you go to a college that the majority of your high school friends also go to, then chances are that nobody in college actually knows you. Nobody knows if you were shy and timid or loud and obnxoxius. Nobody knows how many relationships you've had or what kind of parties you went to. That's the neauty of going to colege. Unless I make it apparant that I want to be secluded, nobody knows that's the way I feel. College is the chance to start on a fresh and clean slate, no mistakes and no insecurities. So here is a list of a few ways to make a good first impression at college. Make these next four years count!
1. Say Hello
Seems like a simple concept that everybody does right? Wrong. It's amazing how many times a day we walk past people in public and not say hello. In high school, my friends and I had an inside joke about myself because I never said hi to people in the halls even if they said hi to me. But in college I try to make it a priority. I get that sometimes we see someone and automatically do a mental profiling of that person, and conclude that he/she is not our type, therefore we choose not to say hello. But remember that saying hello doesn't mean I want to be your BFFL, it just means I want to say hello. And you never know, maybe the person you do say hello to ends up being in the same major as you or shares some commonalities with you. Now, sometimes people do the face to face smile nod your head kind of thing and while technically that's the same as saying hello it's not exactly the same thing. In order to do it correctly, you need to look at the person, nod your head, smile with all 32 of your teeth, AND say hello.
2. Build Connections
There is no point of spending 4 years at college if you don't have a job. And the only way to secure good jobs is to have the right connections. Thankfully, you don't have to look too far to do that. Colleges have wonderful resources set aside for you. In my college, I take a class called Intro to Health Professions where every week an individual who works at a professional institution or health related company would come in and give a presentation. While I'm only a freshman, that doesn't mean I have to start looking for potential places of employment when I'm a junior or senior. Start looking now! Building connections with the right people early on in the game looks really good because you are ahead of everybody else. Workplaces nowadays are super competitive. And if there was someone who came to your college and gave a presentation about finance, and you took the time to introduce yourself to that individual, and then it was time for you to look for internships/jobs, you never know if you'll be working at Wall Street because of that person you have connections with!
3. Advertise Your Strengths
This is super important! When meeting new people be it friends or faculty, tell them what you know. Are you good at cleaning? Organizing? Drawing? Cooking? Giving advice? Chemistry? Are you empathetic? Let's face it, nobody came to college as the perfect human being. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, so it's good to exchange what they are. That way you know exactly who to go to when you need help and vice versa.
4. Dress Nicely
Not everyone agrees with this . Personally, I never understand why some people dress like complete slobs (AKA sweats and tees 99% of the time), I didn't even dress like that in high school. Of course, if you're running late and have an exam to catch, I too would run out of my dorm room naked and wearing mismatched socks if it meant I'd be on time in class. But on days where you have time and aren't feeling particularly crappy, put forth some time and effort to look presentable. Put on a dress, curl your hair, spray on a little extra perfume, etc. Research tells us that when you look good you feel good. And when you feel good, others feel good about you too!
5. Be Punctual
Be on time. This doesn't just mean coming early to class, there are plenty of other scenarios where it applies. If a couple friends and you decide to have dinner together at particular time, make sure you show up at that time. If you said you will leave and come back, make sure you come back, or at least notify if you had to change your plans. While I doubt friends would leave before everyone arrived, it gets annoying when you are always the one holding everyone back.
And of course, remember to be able to face rejection. Maybe you say hi to the same person every single day but he/she seems to never acknowledge your presence. Or maybe you want to be friends with a certain group of people, but you don't seem to fit in with them. That doesn't mean you made the wrong impression, it just means you aren't able to impress everybody, and that's okay.