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12 Ways to Make Friends in College

At Carthage, the next four years offer the potential to turn all of the new faces you see into new friendships. So how exactly do you make those lifelong friends everybody’s always talking about? Here are some tips from Carthage students and alumni:

1. Room with somebody you don’t know.

“I met my roommate on the Carthage Facebook page for new students and we decided to live together. We had the same living habits and interests so we thought we would give it a try, and it turned out to be the best thing possible. We are now best friends and do everything together, which has really helped the transition into college. I would advise rooming with someone you do not already know. It will give you a chance to experience someone new and go out of your comfort zone.” — Bryanna Horn ’18

2. Go to the Org Fair.

Carthage holds an Org Fair — Organization Fair — at the start of the fall and spring semesters. Want to meet people? Go to the Org Fair. “As the year has gone on, I’ve gone from having a small group of four friends to a small army of 20 that I see every day. I was very nervous about how I would find any friends when I came to Carthage, but it just sort of happened. I met one of my best friends at the Organization Fair, and while there, I heard about Wave Radio, met more people at the first meeting, and things snowballed from there. Not only did the Org Fair allow me to meet new people, it also allowed me to explore my interests.” — John Archer ’18

3. Get to know people in your classes.

“I made a lot of friends through clubs, but I actually made my best friends in my classes. After working on a group project with kids in my Spanish class, we decided to get lunch one day and now we hang out all the time. That is one great thing about having small class sizes. It’s very easy to make lasting friendships.” — Samantha Johnson ’18

4. Join Residence Life.

Residence Life Council is a group that works to improve campus life at Carthage. RLC members work with residence hall directors to organize campus activities. Members often end up in leadership roles by their sophomore and junior years, becoming resident assistants (RAs) or assistant hall directors (AHDs). “The most important and meaningful relationships I had were with staff members and residents when I was an RA and AHD. These were the people I saw most often throughout the year, and what we went through together really brought us close together. I met two of my best friends while on staff together. It was an amazing experience getting to work with these wonderful people. The relationships I made will last forever, not only as friendships, but because of the impact they have had in my life. ” — Hayley Walbeck ’15

5. Go to CAB events.

The Campus Activities Board, or CAB, hosts a ton of events on campus every month, bringing in musicians, hypnotists, and comedians, and hosting other activities like movies and themed bingo. “Go to the CAB events that Carthage has to offer, especially in the first few weeks of school. Everybody will be at those events and it will be simple to find a group of friends to talk to. Don’t be afraid to say hi to someone. Trust me, everyone wants to make a new friend just as badly as you want to.” — Justice Good ’18

6. Join a club on campus.

“Whenever I heard of an opportunity to get involved with an organization, I accepted to make friends and help out the Carthage community. Getting involved in different clubs is very important because through them, you begin to feel comfortable with the people around you and the campus. I got involved with Pep Band, which was my favorite part about freshman year. Being able to attend sporting events at Carthage is so much fun!” — Graham Westley ’18

7. Keep in touch with peers you meet during orientation.

“I made a lot of friends orientation weekend, just by introducing myself to people. Everyone was looking to make friends, and it didn’t take long. You meet people through other people.” — Ashley Cross ’18

8. Talk to people in your residence hall.

“I had always been told that I would find some of my best friends within my own residence hall and that could not have been truer. I was introduced to the majority of my close friends in Denhart Hall. I strengthened these friendships over the course of my first year by regularly attending Residence Life Council meetings, hanging out in the basement, and playing volleyball in the courtyard. Friends are everywhere at Carthage, and they’re just a text message or short walk away. It’s those late night walks along the beach or to the lighthouse with friends; it’s those summer nights going downtown or playing volleyball at Somer’s; those are the things I am going to miss. The people, the experiences, and the memories are why I am ever indebted to Carthage.” — Cody Houzenga ’15

9. Go on a J-Term study tour.

Every January, during Carthage’s J-Term, faculty lead study tours around the world. “My most meaningful friendships have come from making it through new and challenging experiences with other people. I made 21 friends on my J-Term trip sophomore year by getting to know all of my classmates while traveling in a new place. The great part is, you become friends with all of your friends’ friends, and pretty soon you feel like you know everyone on campus.” — Dana Ehrmann ’15 

10. Join Greek Life.

Carthage is home to 16 local and nationally affiliated sororities and fraternities, and they recruit new members every fall and spring. Recruitment is open to students who are second-semester freshmen or above, and meet GPA requirements. “The minute I could sign up for spring recruitment, I did. Being a freshman and having to wait to go through this process was slightly disappointing, but I went through recruitment and gained a huge group of friends from the process alone. My new group of friends are the girls in my chapter.” — Megan Marfilius ’18

11. Get an on-campus job.

“Something that helped me meet people right away was getting an on-campus job. I work in the Dean of Students Office, which helped me to meet many people and work with other students.” — Bryanna Horn ’18

12. Dare to reach out.

“I have finally discovered the truth behind ‘it’s the little things that count.’ So many of my friendships have started simply because someone dared to reach out to me, or because I dared to reach out to them in some small way. Because of Carthage, I can move forward in the world knowing how to establish quality relationships with others, and how to maintain give and take within my relationships.” — Darien Jefferson ’15

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2017), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • Scheduled to open in fall 2018, a new residential tower will offer suite-style housing and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about The Tower

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wins, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • 96% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit Career Services.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. 95% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • As a freshman in the highly selective Honors Program, learn how to gain expertise in anything from music to forest ecology. After that, tackle a contemporary social, economic, or political problem. If you like, you can live on an Honors-only floor of a Carthage residence hall. 

    • In 2016 and 2017, Carthage was named a top producer of Fulbright Scholars by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our athletic and recreation center, student union, computer labs, audiovisual production suite, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 10 years. Our new science center caps it off.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from archaeology to athletic training, neuroscience to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of our students receive financial aid, a hefty chunk of which is scholarships and grants — including $1.25 million annually from the Presidential Scholarship Competition and numerous Merit Scholarships. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” says biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 30 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from 75% tuition up to full tuition, room, and board. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about the Carthage core.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 12:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 120 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Chemistry Club, to Frisbee and Latin Belly Dancing. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • Imagine presenting your original research at an international conference — as an undergraduate. Carthage is dedicated to undergraduate research. Learn more about current opportunities.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked No. 11 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …

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