How to win friends at NYU

Forming meaningful connections in the big city is no small task. Here are a few ways to meet people.

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Susan Behrends Valenzuela

(Staff Illustration by Susan Behrends Valenzuela)

Nikkala Kovacevic, Staff Writer

At some point on your NYU campus tour, your admissions ambassador probably uttered the words “the city is our campus” with an overly exaggerated gesture to the surrounding buildings, followed by an awkward silence from the audience. The ambassadors would then enter into an all-too-energetic spiel about how even though NYU lacks the traditional campus feel, fret not, as there are still plenty of ways to meet people!

As you look around at the indistinguishable hordes of people in Washington Square Park, you might be wondering: How do you make friends at NYU? While it is quite possible that you will come across plenty of first-year students who have already cultivated a slam poetry troupe or indie film crew within the first week, there are plenty of others still trying to make new friends. You just have to know where to look. 

Social media

The best and most surefire way to meet new people at NYU is to be a little bit of a creep. Unless you feel like talking to random strangers on the street, which isn’t advised, it can be difficult to locate potential friends in a student body and city this large. You might feel awkward at first, but a good old-fashioned slide into the DMs is a great way to build a base level of people you know before you have more opportunities to meet others. This can just be someone to chat with online, or possibly someone to grab coffee or lunch with. Either way, you’re making connections.

“The important thing is to keep connections by talking to them, seeing their Instagram post or story — just basic stuff to keep you guys in contact,” Tisch first-year Yuming Zhang said. “I think a very important step in making friends here is to keep in contact and not be afraid to talk to new people.” 

Classes

This one works on a case-by-case basis, as it will probably be more difficult to make friends in your 200-person molecular biology lecture than in a 10-person creative writing seminar. That being said, classes are a great place to find people with similar interests.

While making new friends is all about putting yourself out there, proximity is one of the most guaranteed ways of getting to know someone. 

“Since I’m in Tisch, I’m in class a lot, and I have made lots of friends in Tisch classes because we spend so much time together,” sophomore Maggie Soik said. 

Especially now with NYU easing pandemic restrictions, people are seizing the opportunity to socialize in person. Peeking under someone’s mask while they are taking a sip of water? Handing them a pencil when they ask to borrow one? All exciting prospects in the world of in-person classes — and all great ways to meet new people.

Even in Core Curriculum classes, the experience of going through a school-wide required class together has the potential to bond you for life. After all, those who undergo traumatic experiences together form strong bonds.

Greek life

It’s true that many probably don’t immediately think of NYU when they hear “Greek life.” But while we’re no ’Bama, NYU Greek life very much does exist and can offer a sense of community. 

“I thought Greek life was not for me and incredibly artificial, and I didn’t intend on going through that whole process,” said CAS sophomore Lauren Sanchez, who rushed Delta Gamma in her freshman year. “However, I didn’t have a real close group of friends yet, and it was like halfway through the semester, so I decided to give it a try, and I ended up finding some of my best friends through Greek life.” 

If you still can’t really get on board with calling yourself a sorority sister or frat bro, NYU has a variety of specified frats and sororities, including pre-law, film and many more. 

Clubs

NYU is home to more than 400 different clubs and student organizations, ranging from theater troupes to sports teams to cheese clubs to mycology. Whatever your niche is, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll find at least one club that satisfies your wants. At the beginning of every semester, NYU hosts a Club Fest that allows students to talk with club leaders about their organizations as well as join their email lists. There is no better way to describe Club Fest than a free-for-all. Some clubs are more active than others, so you can join as many or as few as you want; it’s all what you make of it, really. But if you need a quick and easy way to talk to some people, or if you just have nothing to do on Wednesday nights and want to share your love of cheese with a group of like-minded individuals, here’s your chance. 

Dorms

Move-in day can often be chaotic. Struggling to fit into impossibly small elevators, sweating through your clothes as you try to move a not-so-mini-fridge, all while your mom yells at you from down the hall that you forgot a box. Maybe not the best time to make new friends. That being said, once things have died down, dorms can be a great way to make friends quickly. Especially during the first few weeks, your building’s lounge will be full of people who are also desperately looking for human contact. You can also sign up for residence hall activities to meet other people in the building.

I really tried to be involved with my dorm activities, which are almost always being organized by RAs,” Tandon senior Raquel Isart said regarding her first year. “I tried to meet everyone on my floor and, if I encountered someone in the hallway or elevator, tried to make conversation as well.” 

Your roommates are also, hopefully, people who you can make a quick connection with. 

I was paired with them randomly,” Isart said. “We were assigned a six-bed suite in Coral so small we could not even all fit at the same time. I guess with not that much room to go anywhere else, we became friends!” 

Even if you don’t become besties for life, having at least one person to meet new people with always makes it easier. 

If you take away anything from this article, just know that incoming NYU student Reddit threads are not the most reliable sources of information, so don’t get discouraged by the horror stories. At the end of the day, there are definitely plenty of people in the same situation who are just as desperate as you are. It’s simply a matter of finding each other.

Contact Nikkala Kovacevic at [email protected]