The Do’s and Dont’s of New Cities

By: Marisa Borreggine

Campus Sherpa Staff Writer, University of Washington

If you’ve just begun college, or transferred to a new school from a previous university or

community college, you are all too familiar with the confusion and wonder that comes with

moving to a new city. The feelings that meet you aren’t exactly the same as they were in your

childhood, moving to a new town and immediately making friends just because you were the

same age. It takes a bit more effort to make this new town home, and to make those friends all

over again.


Introduce yourself!


Chances are, everyone at the bar/party/event you’re at is just as nervous about meeting

people as you are. It does help to have a classic ice breaker (my favorite is asking if

someone was in my [insert most interesting class I’ve taken] class, and when they

weren’t just talk about that class!), but sometimes just saying “Hi!” is all it takes!


Introduce yourself to everyone…


One of the more unfortunate parts of being in a new town is the idea that not every

stranger is trustworthy, even at the local bar. Make sure to be aware of who you’re

talking to, and have an escape plan if the conversation starts to go down the wrong road.


Have that escape plan handy!


If you are really starting fresh, sometimes you might have to go to events or bars alone.

This can be a scary thought, especially for a young woman in this day and age. Always

make sure your phone is charged before you go out so you can call someone, even if they

aren’t in the same town (my mom is my favorite option). You can even fake a phone call

and hail a taxi if necessary! There is no shame in a fake emergency if it means taking care

of your safety.


Get too self-conscious!


Who would you want to introduce yourself to, the person with lots to say that is dancing

by themselves without a care who watches, or the person that’s been staring into their

phone screen all night? A healthy amount of social anxiety takes hold of us all from time

to time, but breaking past this boundary is a great way to enhance your confidence and

sets a great example for other people worrying about whose watching them.


Keep an eye out!


There are likely so many fun events waiting for you to meet new friends at in your new

city, but the first step on that journey is finding those events! Go to your local most

popular café (yelp can help you with that) and take a look at the walls. There should be

posters for plays, concerts, volunteer opportunities, 5ks, and more. You might even

venture as far to ask the baristas if they know of any upcoming events—I used to be a

barista and found that working in a café for a long time makes you pick up a second job

as the town concierge. Trust me, we know what’s going on.

And lastly,



Get discouraged!

It took me a year to finally find my best group of friends. Just because you’re new to a

city doesn’t mean you should have to settle for a group of people you don’t necessarily

clique with. You or those people are not bad friends just because you can’t find a rhythm,

and there’s nothing wrong with constantly expanding your network of friends!

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