How to actually make friends with people in your classes

Steven Durfee

UBC is an undeniably huge place, both in terms of land area and record-breaking new undergraduates. It does take some getting used to navigating through the social maze of large classes that requires a bit of courage — or maybe more courage for a few — in initiating friendships with people you will meet for the first time in your life. So here are some tips to help you get started.

Speak up during lecture

Chances are you will be enrolled in at least one lecture class during the term. There will always be a time when the professor would pause their lecture and encourage students to ask questions. This may be a good start to grab some attention if you feel excluded. You may earn a cool remark or two from your seatmate, which has the potential to get a conversation rolling afterwards.

Make full use of lab and discussion sections

Smaller classes tend to provide a less intimidating environment to start conversations. With similar assignments, you would have a common theme to focus on and it would take little effort to diverge from there.

Connect

Connect is simply what its namesake suggests — to connect you with your fellow classmates anytime, anywhere. Look up the discussion section for students to ask questions and help one another out. Except, now we’re on Canvas — no one really knows how to work it yet based on my last few classes — but I would guess it’s pretty similar to Connect.

Take good notes

Pulling out your notes before class starts can easily grab your seatmate’s attention. Laptops may work too but if you’re only busy looking at Facebook, it may turn another student off by giving the impression that they should not be peering unintentionally at your private issues.

Stay back after lecture

If all of the above does not work and you are not in a hurry to catch the next class, try staying a little longer after the class ends. Prepare a question or two to ask the lecturer yourself while listening to other students ask their own. Who knows, you may already have the answer for them and things can progress from there.

Find chances to stray from the topic of schoolwork

It is easy to get conversations started based on classes and school, but it takes personal topics for deeper friendships to develop. Try offering your own unique opinions on subjects and take off from there. This allows for more depth rather than breadth for discussion. You just might stumble on a clever, inspiring joke to share with your conversation partners, leaving a lasting and admirable impression of you on them.

Be attentive

Specifically, to the conversations that are going on all around you and simply go with the flow. Then, when something hits the right note and strikes you as one you can easily relate to, just jump in and start chatting away! You’ll never know, but that could just be your eureka moment along the unpredictable journey of friendship discovery.