Bond Beyond the Dorm!

By the U Chic Editorial Board

Image courtesy of photostock /

One of the best parts of college: dorm life. Not only are you finally away from your parents, you're also surrounded by hundreds of potential friends with similar goals and, perhaps more importantly, similar fears.

Dorm life is full of constant activity; from hall council meetings with guest speakers (and if you're lucky, lots of free pizza and ice cream!), to floor-specific events like sleepovers, resume builder workshops AND the occasional illegal game of beer pong or two on Thirsty Thursdays.

But when you're surrounded by so much to do all within a few feet of your cozy little room, it's easy to get swept up in all the dorm activity and never really get to know anybody further away than the girls on the second floor. As awesome — and comfortable — as it can feel to be an integral part of your dorm's social circle, don't let yourself get stuck in a rut. Promise yourself that this semester, you'll get your butt in gear and get outside the dorm.

Social Butterfly To-Do's:

Study in the library … or Starbucks … or at the student center … or with a friend off campus. Just go somewhere (anywhere) where you can find other students that don't share your same address. Odds are, you'll eventually start to see faces you recognize and can strike up a conversation.

Use the rec center. Make workin' on your bod a top priority, especially if you find yourself snacking on buttery popcorn, potato chips and cheap beer. Trust us, hittin' the gym could be the best thing for your body AND your social life. Join a class (yoga or belly dancing work in a pinch), and you're likely to meet some like-minded people.

Join a sorority. Or at the very least, attend their meet-and-greet socials at the beginning of the school year. Usually these events are free game, which means attending them and meeting girls from across campus doesn't mean you have to commit to join.

Go to a house party. Frat parties are practically unavoidable in college. You'll probably find yourself sipping out of a red cup at one or more parties with names like "The Pink Party" or "Barbies and G.I. Joes." However, it's hard to make good, reliable friends (whose names you can remember), in such a large and often impersonal setting. Instead, opt for a smaller outing with a few of your closest friends. You'll likely feel more comfortable and actually be able to carry on a coherent conversation.

Go to local events. If your college is near a big city, escape the campus bubble and explore the surrounding area. Attend local art shows, expos and festivals. Go to concerts (especially free ones — hello, cute local band guys!), hang out at a local park or get a group together to go camping while the weather is still warm.

Do not party in the dorm. Or if you do, limit your dorm "parties" to one night of the weekend. Even when snow is falling from the sky and you are at risk for frostbite if you venture outside your little abode, you should force yourself to go out every once in awhile. That might mean ditching "Jello Shots in Room 421!" for a movie with your roommate or skipping the floor pizza party to check out the local bowling alley.

The dorm is an amazing place to make friends and keep busy, but it's not the only way! Don't forget to keep your options open this semester — you never know what you can do or who you'll meet outside the safety of your dorm.

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