Four ways to be more approachable on campus

One of the most daunting moments in college happens at least twice a year: first day of class. Meeting people and making friends comes easy for some, but for others it may be challenging putting yourself out there. I spent most of my freshman year trying to find friends and fit in with different groups. It wasn’t until the end of my second quarter when I figured out I had to be more approachable. I have outlined a few steps that helped me be more approachable and hopefully you will find them helpful as well.

Take your headphones out

Headphones are an instant turn off, but can also be dangerous. When you have headphones in you might not hear a car speeding by and get hit. In a more serious situation, you might not hear a person coming up behind you. It also makes you not approachable because it looks like you don’t want to talk. It might surprise you that people want to talk on their walk to class or home. Next time you’re walking around, try going without headphones and strike up a conversation with the person next to you.

Put your phone down

When I see kids in class looking at their phones I assume a couple of things: they’re cramming, texting, or feel awkward and want something to do. Of course these aren’t always the case, but what else can the people around you think? Try pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone and say something to them. It could be a simple “hey, what’s up?” or “did you do the homework?” Anything related to class is a surefire way to break the ice. If nothing else, looking up at the people who sit next to you is far more inviting than looking down at your phone.

Compliment someone!

Who doesn’t love the feeling when a stranger compliments your outfit? This can be scary, but I encourage anyone to try this simple tactic. I find myself waiting at a stop light to cross the street, but instead of silently admiring the shoes of the person in front of me, I can say, “hey I like your shoes!” with a smile and we both win. It feels pretty good giving compliments out, too. By initiating the conversation or giving the first compliment, you are already way more approachable. The people around you might even hear it and feel inclined to pass out a compliment to someone on their walk to class.

Be honest

This one is the most important one in my opinion. Last semester I had a tough mid-term in a difficult class. When I got my grade back, I was disheartened to see I had done worse than I thought I did. In class, it seemed like everyone did better than me. I heard, “I got an A” or “that test was SO easy,” but to my surprise, some people who said they did well told me later they didn’t. You don’t have to tell the world that you bombed a midterm, but you can be more honest on how you did. If you say, “I didn’t do so well,” people won’t pry and others may admit the same for them. You can bond over how hard the test was and you might even find a new study buddy.

Your college experience is made up of some of the best years of your life. To help make sure you take every opportunity you have, be willing to step out of your comfort zone and talk to people. Friendship can make or break your experiences and you never know where you might find some of your new best friends.

Pearson Students: How do you make yourself more approachable on campus? Share by commenting below!



Jessica Limbaugh is sophomore at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. She plans to graduate in Spring 2021 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Agricultural Business and work at a winery after graduation. During her free time, Jessica enjoys spending time with friends and family, working out, and going to the beach. She also has a passion for writing and hopes to get more involved with journalism on her campus this year.
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