By Amber Bhatnagar

Orientation was where I met my first friends at Boston University. It was where I knew I had made the right choice of transferring schools, sitting in Agganis Arena surrounded by students from every corner of the world who were just as scared yet ecstatic about attending such a prestigious institution as I was. 

As the speaker called out the various states and countries home to members of the incoming class, I couldn’t help but feel so proud of myself and connected to everyone in that room, even if I didn’t know anything about them. Being in-person at BU was what made Orientation special. Everything was as remarkable as I had hoped, even the pre-packed stale lunch. 

The Class of 2024 and incoming transfer class will face a completely different introduction to BU. With Orientation online this year, it’ll feel distant and not sociable. It’ll be tough to make friends online when computer screens display an array of boxes with faces in various rooms, scattered across the globe and in a number of time zones.

With that being said, it is completely possible to meet new people online and prepare for your first year at BU. Here are my tips for making friends when Orientation is online.

Join your class Facebook group

Before even committing to BU, I joined my transfer class Facebook group to meet people who were also transferring in. I loved being a part of the group because everyone posted pictures of themselves and little bios that included what they were majoring in, what they liked to do, their social media, what music they were into and if they were looking for a roommate. 

This was a great way for me to get to know potential friends and roommates and connect based on our interests. Don’t be afraid to message people you want to talk to on social media. 

Form bonds with the people in your “Common Ground” group

“Common Ground” is an orientation program unique to BU in which you’ll be organized into groups based on your chosen reflection question for discussion. This allows you to form a bond with a close-knit group of other incoming students and have an intellectual conversation. I met people from all over the world in my Common Ground group and it was eye-opening to learn about their life experiences.

Find people who are in the same major/school as you

For me, seeking out fellow COM students was my first goal in making friends at Orientation. Finding those who are studying the same subject as you is a great way to make friends since you’ll likely be taking the same courses and joining similar clubs over the course of your academic career. Plus, it’s always refreshing to see a familiar face in your classes and discussions. 

Making friends with people who are in the same major or school as you also allows you to find common ground with them and connect on similar interests. With that being said, don’t limit yourself to making friends only within your major. College is a time to meet people from all paths of life and backgrounds.

Coming together as a truly global class, regardless of your inability to convene in-person, will make this Orientation special. Know that those of different cultures and backgrounds are probably feeling the exact same way as you. But no matter where you are, what makes this introduction to a digital campus unique is that you are all connected by BU. You’ll come to find out that this will make your experience truly distinct from a traditional orientation. 

Welcome to BU and to the best years of your life thus far.