Mountains over a serene alpine lake
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Martin and some friends holding candles and posing at the candlelight ceremony
Martin and friends posing and smiling in front of the Dartmouth Ski-way
Martin and his roomate Zach swimming in the Connecticut River

A common worry when going to college is "how will I make friends?" At Dartmouth, it's understandable to have similar concerns. That being said… How can you make friends at Dartmouth? Is it easy? Are people here friendly? Allow me to take you through my experience after my first few weeks on campus!

Orientation Week:
Dartmouth knows that college can be intimidating, and that's why there are almost two whole weeks here dedicated to integrating first years, labeled "New Student Orientation." Your first several days will involve some informational sessions and many fun group activities designed to help you meet people and learn what it means to be a student at Dartmouth! Before you know it, you'll be sent off on your…

First-Year Trips:
Your next orientation experience will be this long-standing tradition: first-year trips! Shortly after arriving on campus, you'll have the chance to spend a few days on an outdoor "trip" bonding with other incoming students in various beautiful areas surrounding Dartmouth. Each trip is led by current Dartmouth students, exploring anything from whitewater kayaking to organic farming or fly fishing to museum exploration (and more)! My trip was hiking and rock climbing, and I highly recommend it! The other first years I met on my first year trip (also known as my "tripees") quickly blossomed into lasting friendships! If this doesn't sound like it's for you, that's okay! Trips are completely optional but highly encouraged!

Dorms, Dining Halls, and Classes:
Besides structured events, you can find friends in every area at Dartmouth. I've made some of my closest friends so far on my dorm floor, randomly in the dining hall, or in my classes. For the first several weeks in college, everyone is trying to make friends. It's totally normal to ask a complete stranger: "What's your name?" or "Where are you from?" It's as simple as introducing yourself to the person sitting next to you in class—or if that's too difficult—just asking them to borrow a pencil to break the ice! I randomly asked a classmate from my ecology class this term to go to lunch, and since then, we've been great friends—we actually just joined intramural soccer together!

Clubs and more:
Once classes start at Dartmouth, you'll be bombarded with emails about clubs, organizations, or teams looking for new interested members. Although this can seem overwhelming, there are, quite literally, unlimited ways to find new friends or communities by simply trying out something new! I've recently joined the Club Swim team here and have made several friends on the team already. Randomly attending anything you might be interested in is important here… but no worries if it's not for you! Most clubs are non-committal for at least the first few weeks so that you can find what you like. Maybe you'll find a community or group of people you love!

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to make friends at Dartmouth. Most importantly, people here want to make friends just as much as you, and you're given plenty of time to adapt to being a student at the College. Here, you can and will find friends for life—from all different parts of the world. I've met people from London to Sri Lanka, from Manhattan to Afghanistan, and from Barcelona to South Africa.

On move-in day, a gentleman from the class of 1977 came into my dorm room and told me that this was actually his dorm room 46 years ago. He mentioned that he's still close friends with his roommates from so many years ago. This shows how close people here can become and how easy it is to make friends!

Now, all that you have to do is go out there and make some!

Martin Skacel

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