Worried about the idea of moving to a huge, new place where you won’t know anyone? Think you’re too awkward or shy to make any friends in college? Fear not. We all used to think like that. Now, we come to bring you elderly advice on how to make the transition as easy as possible. It’s that classic “hokie hospitality” that Tech is known for. Here are a few tips from those of us who have been through it already!

By Virginia Tech student Kyle Turnage        "For Hokies, by Hokies" Summer Academy Blog        2/20/2017

Dorm neighbors

This can’t be emphasized enough. Introduce yourself to your neighbors or other hallmates. Just do it. Use the communal study areas. Your neighbors don’t know anyone else either, remember that! Best friends are made in freshman dorms, sometimes just 3 rooms down the hall.

dorm friends
Photo by John McCormick

Greek life

This is one of the best and easiest ways to instantly meet massive amounts of people on campus. Joining a fraternity or sorority is a great way to become part of a new family of literally hundreds of new people. Great for people who want that big group of friends. For more information about the fraternities and sororities at Virginia Tech, visit the Greek Life web page.

Homecoming parade with Deltas
Photo by Logan Wallace


What better way to make friends than meeting others with a shared passion? Gobblerfest is held every year during the early fall semester solely so that students can find clubs that interest them. This is a must-do as a freshman. Gobblerfest even has food and carnival rides, plus all the free trinkets you can collect from various clubs! This is why many seniors still go to Gobblerfest every year. Sign me up! (And check out the many great clubs offered at VT on GobblerConnect.)

Gobblerfest at Virginia Tech
Photo by Michael Kiernan


Group work

Though making friends in class is thought to be taboo (for whatever reason), if you’re working on a group project (which you inevitably will be at some point), don’t hesitate to make friends. Others want to meet people just as much as you do, no matter how old they are. Plus, getting to know them makes working together much easier and gives you familiar faces to study with in the future. That’s like a triple win!

Study group
Photo by Michael Folta

High school peeps

While it’s definitely highly recommended to meet NEW people in college, if you know other students from your high school that now go to Virginia Tech with you, reach out. Even if you barely spoke in high school... actually, especially if you never spoke in high school. This is a completely different world. My closest friends at Tech are all from the same area I'm from, and I was hardly aware of their existence before this. Plus, they can be a bridge to meeting even more people here.

Summer Academy Student friends
Photo by Peter Means

Be yourself

I know, the biggest cliché of all time, but a seriously great thing that nearly everyone forgets when they step foot on campus. You will probably change a bit, true, but don’t betray your values or lie about who you are just to “fit in.” There are over 30,000 students here. I promise you will find people similar to yourself... didn’t mean to be so serious there, but it's important!

Hokies running
Photo by Jim Stroup

Lastly, you don’t need that massive group of friends if you’re not into that! If having a smaller group of people you’re very close to is more your style, then do that! On the other hand, if you’re someone who loves having 50 different people to hang out with, then go for it! There is no one way that is superior to the other. But if you follow all/any of this advice, then Blacksburg will soon feel like home!

P.S. One final tip I personally recommend is applying for summer academy! I can not think of a better way to get aquainted with the campus than coming early and taking a few summer courses. Plus, you will meet some awesome hokies there. Both of my current roommates are people I met during summer academy. For more information, visit the Summer Academy website.

Kyle Turnage

Kyle Turnage, a contributor to the For Hokies, by Hokies Summer Academy blog, is a senior majoring in mathematics with a minor in physics and serves as an intern in the Office of Summer and Winter Sessions.

The views expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Virginia Tech or The Office of Summer and Winter Sessions.