How to Make Friends as a Commuter in College

Your new friends are only 568 words away!

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“Playful arguments would become fits of uncontrollable laughter, and, like magic, that experience would be crystallized into a private joke, and the private joke would get boiled down to a simple phrase, which became a souvenir of the entire experience. For years to come, the phrase alone could uncork hours of renewed laughter. And as everyone knows, the best kind of laughter is laughter born of a shared memory.” – Mindy Kaling, Why Not Me?

Now doesn’t that sound nice?

The above passage is from Mindy Kaling’s new book, Why Not Me?, and it is one of my favorites. The quote gives me such a warm and cozy feeling, picturing best friends laughing and making priceless memories together.

As a commuter student, I don’t exactly have the same kind of luxury – it’s harder to make lasting relationships. There isn’t a lot of time to get to know your classmates in lectures, and between traveling back and forth, you don’t always have the time to go out and party after that last final.

However, upon entering my second year, I’ve mastered a few tips for creating and sustaining friendships as a commuter. Take a look!

1) Start small

In every article directed to college students about making friends, joining extracurriculars is usually at the top of the list. What I think is missing about that is the idea of starting small.  Joining a varsity sports team or a huge student organization is great, but as a commuter it can also be very intimidating, as there are so many people involved and often a large time commitment. 

In my first year, as I mentioned in this article, I joined a small newspaper on campus that ended up leading me to bigger opportunities. This was perfect for me as a commuter. I’m also generally less nervous when dealing with fewer new people – another bonus. Therefore, I recommend starting small and working your way up.

2) Get a job on campus

Your college campus is buzzing with opportunities, and what’s better than one where you get paid as well? Jobs on campus not only look great on a resume, but you can meet other students who you get to see on a weekly basis. They might be older or younger than you, or in a completely different major, and it’s great! 

As a commuter, jobs are also helpful because you can go from class, straight to work, instead of traveling back and forth between home, work, and school. You get to meet and foster a lot of personal and professional connections, too. Definitely check out your college’s job board!

3) Don’t beat yourself up

My last piece of advice is to not stress about it. I’ll be honest, I only made a few friends in my first year, while I saw others making what looked like millions of connections. I beat myself up about it for awhile, but looking back on it now, the few people I did become friends with ended up being the exact people I needed at that time in my life. 

There are only so many things you can control and your time shouldn’t be wasted on feeling bad about yourself. Put your best foot forward and appreciate the friends you do make. 

What do you think?

Do you have any tips for making friendships as a commuter? Let us know in the comments!

2 thoughts on “How to Make Friends as a Commuter in College”

  1. I can vouch for the on-campus job tip! I’m a freshman and a commuter, and I replied to an email for an on-campus job as a front desk worker for one of the student centers here. I got the job literally the first day of classes, and since my job is literally to greet people as they walk through the door, I’ve made enough connections with people who stick around to talk to me for a bit before going about their day. It’s only a month into school, and I can’t imagine how lonely I’d be if I didn’t have this job lol, especially considering the fact that I’m a bit of an introvert.

  2. As someone who attends an university where 100% of the students are commuters, I still find it easier to have friends here than I did in back in boarding school. Usually, the easier ways to have more friends is spending more time in the library, or studying in groups. We usually rotate homes, so every week we go to a different classmate home.


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