HOW TO BE LONELY:
The universal truth of your first year of college is that no one has friends and everyone wants friends. Most upperclassmen will tell you they were not completely comfortable in their friend groups until at least their sophomore year, so know that feeling a little lonely is completely normal. This does not mean you should stop trying. Though a virtual semester undoubtedly has its downsides, not even trying to make friends will set you up for a disappointing fall. You are not being a weirdo if you reach out to someone in a DM or group chat. People will be glad you took initiative. If it doesn’t work out, that’s chill! Friends come in unexpected ways — don’t be discouraged if your master plan to find a huge friend group doesn’t come to fruition immediately.
The second universal truth is that your first friends will most likely not be your forever friends, and that’s okay. Try anyway. If you are not vibing with the people you made a Snapchat group with on the second day of New Student Orientation, that’s okay! Don’t completely abandon all friends as soon as you have an inkling of doubt about them, but don’t feel like you need to stick with one group of people just because you met them first. Your friend group might come together in ways you least expect.
Slide into some DMs — no, really. Your NSO group, Class of 2024 GroupMe and classes will be sources of regular contact with Georgetown classmates. Utilize these channels and then go beyond them. Form Snapchat groups with the people you vibe with, or, better yet, just ask everyone to drop their Snap in the Zoom chat and form new groups from there. Though Snapchat is a low-pressure way to continue communicating with people, text group chats or GroupMes work just as well. Once you have these groups, you can start planning Zooms or other online get-togethers.
Maybe you only meet one or two people you get along with at first, or maybe big groups aren’t your thing. Even if you only form a few close friendships this semester, they’ll make the fall worthwhile. Don’t stress if you spend the semester without a big squad.
If you’re not up for a DM slide, joining clubs is another great way to get involved in a ready-made community. Clubs form the backbone of Georgetown social life, and both upperclassmen and new club members want to get to know you and bond over shared interests. Though clubs will be virtual, they’ll still offer plenty of bonding opportunities. (Plug: Everyone at The Hoya is thrilled to welcome new members, and we have lots of mentorship and fun activities waiting for you!) Read more about clubs here.
MAINTAINING FRIENDSHIPS: GROUP ACTIVITIES
Plan activities to do over Zoom together! Even with your favorite people in the world, staring at each other’s faces on a screen can get boring after a while. If you’re not sure how to get a conversation going, a planned activity can be a starting point for lots of future inside jokes.
- Gather your friends on Zoom to play any of these virtual games. Some of our favorites are Spyfall, a funny, slightly strategic game that’s good for conversation, and Zingers, an online Georgetown-themed version of Cards Against Humanity.
- Host a movie night. Pick a classic like The Hoya favorite “Mamma Mia!” or a contemporary cringefest like “The Kissing Booth 2” and invite all your buddies to watch. Chrome extensions like Netflix Party and Prime Watch Party are good tools for group streaming, but you can also try to watch over Zoom. Have a person with access to the movie share their screen, making sure to check the “share computer sound” box when they do.
- Classic college icebreakers like “Never Have I Ever” and “Truth or Dare” are go-to ways to get to know someone. If you’re not comfortable coming up with your own questions, the free app Beer Buddy has a ton of tried-and-true games and questions — alcohol not required.
- Take a cue from the TikTok trend and present slideshows on niche interests to new friends. The masterpieces you create will provide fodder for many an inside joke and allow you to get to know each other perhaps a little too well. Topics can range from “Why Traffic Is Fake” to “Rating My Messages on Grindr” — the more wacky the topic, the better.
- Make alignment charts. What better way to get to know someone than finding out whether they’re lawful good or chaotic neutral? Check out these templates for some ideas.
- Mood boards or starter packs are yet another way to make the most of Google Slides. Collaborate on making a slide for each of your friends that best embodies who they are.
- When you’re ready to put your friendships to the test, take turns making Kahoots about yourselves! A true friend will know everything about you, from your middle name to your childhood dream career.
MAINTAINING FRIENDSHIPS: ONE-ON-ONE
- Make a study buddy (even if you don’t really need to study with them). Classes are one of the easiest ways to connect with someone. While you might normally make plans to go Lau or hit up a coffee shop for a study group, set up a Zoom or FaceTime instead.
- Set a time every week with a friend to drink coffee, eat a meal or watch a show together. Having a set weekly time takes away the pressure of constantly scheduling a hangout and makes the interaction come more naturally.
LOVE IN THE 21st CENTURY:
Online romance can be real romance. If you were hoping to meet a special someone in college, your love life doesn’t have to be dead just because you’re not on campus. Reach out to that cutie in your IR lecture and exchange numbers or Snapchats, but always make sure you’re respecting people’s boundaries. Lots of people aren’t looking for a Zoom romance, so step back if your crush isn’t reciprocating. It’s not cool to be creepy. If you do vibe with each other, try setting up a virtual date. You can even dress to impress to add a sense of realism. As long as you and your online sweetheart are on the same page about expectations, there’s no rush to DTR.