As a new student at McGill, trying to meet friends while learning to navigate academics and a new city can be difficult. The McGill Tribune has compiled four suggestions to help with making new connections on campus.
- Join a club
This comes as no surprise. McGill has over 200 clubs you can join, where you will surely meet other like-minded people and be able to socialize in a low-pressure environment. Reach out to the student groups that interest you and attend Activities Night, the bi-annual showcasing of various McGill clubs and organizations. Students can scope out and explore the different areas of student life—you might spark a budding friendship, all while learning a new skill or rekindling an old hobby.
- Get a job on campus
Getting a part-time position on campus will allow you to meet students from various departments. McGill advertises many student positions on MyFuture and Workday throughout the year, including opportunities at the McGill Libraries, the Athletics Department, or with faculty members. While not all on-campus positions require an approved Work Study status, many of them do, or prefer Work Study-eligible employees. To become part of the Work Study Program, you need to apply on Minerva once a year. According to the McGill Scholarships and Student Aid website, your admittance to the program will depend on your financial need. At an on-campus job, your coworkers can relate to your experience at McGill and just might introduce you to the best places to unwind in-between classes or have a memorable meal.
- Study at a nearby coffee shop
Many McGill students choose to study at the McGill Libraries. However, because these environments are intended for quiet studying, building a connection in library spaces can be challenging—especially with COVID-19 regulations in place. Two of the nearest coffee shops for McGill students include the Tim Hortons on Sherbrooke Street and the Second Cup on McGill College Avenue. Though these places can be quite hectic during rush hours, you will be sure to find other students there. Other cafes popular among students include the famous Milton B, which is open 24 hours a day and always buzzing with students, and Chai Lounge, where you will find a wide selection of bubble tea. McTavish Street and Lower Field also have lots of places to sit and can be a great alternative to indoor study spaces before the harsh Montreal winter returns. Who knows, you might sit next to someone in a classroom you once shared a smile with at a coffee shop.
- Take advantage of online platforms
Although online dating is becoming increasingly normalized, online friending is still catching up. One online platform that facilitates such friendships is Meetup, a website and app where you can find both online and in-person events in your community that cater to your personal interests. Though Bumble is primarily known for its dating option, Bumble BFF can be used to meet and chat with friends online––and chances are you will stumble upon another McGill student. Meeting people online can be especially meaningful if you live farther away from campus and do not always have the opportunity to attend social events nearby.
Keep in mind that friendships take work and grow over time, so remember to follow up and stay in touch with the new people you meet. Luckily, social media smooths the process by allowing you to interact through different online communities, including Facebook groups and Discord servers. If you are the daring type, you can challenge yourself by messaging peers through Zoom during class time.
Hopefully, these recommendations will prove themselves useful in helping you create new and meaningful connections.