As freshman year of college gets closer, we find ourselves dreaming about all the new friends we’re going to make. If you go to an university or four-year college, finding friends is relatively easy—you’ll meet new people in between classes, at sporting events, clubs, in your dorms and at sorority or fraternity functions.

Unfortunately, it’s a little bit trickier to make friends at a community college, since the only time you’re on campus is when you’re in class.
In high school, I was used to the same group of friends I had since sixth grade, so making new ones at a community college was an extremely difficult task for me. As a shy introvert, I would sit quietly in the back of the classroom while I waited for class to be over.

Eventually, being alone at a new school became lonely and depressing. So, after my first year at a community college, I figured out a few tricks on how to make new friends.

Get a study partner. The easiest way you can make a friend is just by approaching someone in class. You have to remember that a lot of students at community colleges are in the same boat as you; they're attending school with little to no friends. Students are willing to meet new people, so it should be easy enough to approach anyone sitting alone in class, at the library or even on a bench. A study partner can easily turn into a good friend. This person can transform from the one you hit up on Facebook when you miss class and need the notes, to someone you can complain about the professor with over a cup of coffee at Starbucks.

Join a club. Clubs are not limited to four-year colleges—community colleges have them too! Every school has a club fair, where organizations set up tables hoping to attract new members. Find a club that involves one of your interests such as philosophy, poetry or art, and join. You’ll be able to meet people with similar interests, making it easier to find friends. If you can’t find a club you’re interested in, make your own.

Get a job on campus. Community colleges have many employment opportunities for students. During my freshman year, I worked off campus and became great friends with my co-workers. Unfortunately, none of them went to my school. I now wish I actually took a job on-campus so I could make friends that I could see during class or have study sessions with. So, I advise finding a job on campus instead of off campus. Whether it’s in a counseling office or the cafeteria, you’ll be able to meet new people while still getting paid.

Become a tutor. If you happen to be really knowledgeable in one subject, become a tutor. Most schools pay their tutors, which is a bonus. But if your school doesn't have a student tutoring program, put flyers around campus and let people know that you're offering help for a small price or even for free. Tutoring gives you an excuse to hang out with fellow classmates who can potentially become your friends.

Go to the sporting events. Many community colleges do have sport teams such as basketball and football. When a game approaches, plan on attending, and show your school spirit! You never know who you might meet in the stands, at the snack bar or at a tailgating party.

Avoid going straight home after class. Once class is over, we're all tempted to go straight to our cars, maneuver out of the jam-packed parking lot and head home. However, if all you do is go straight to class and then straight home, you miss out on meeting people in between classes.

So, next time after class, delay a little bit. Bring a book, and read at the library or outside. Or, make sure you have your laptop, and just chill out at the school cafe. Just make sure you're approachable. In other words, don't sit there with your face buried in a magazine and headphones plugged in your ears. Look up occasionally from whatever you're doing, and make eye contact with those around you. If you're feeling particularly outgoing, get up and introduce yourself to new people, and ask to sit down with them.

Since you’re going to be stuck a community college for a few years anyways, it wouldn’t hurt to make the most of your time there. Get involved, and make some friends.