Blog Column: 

One of the big advantages of living in the dorms is that you are surrounded by potentially interesting people and perhaps new friends. Thing is, a lot of people are too shy to take advantage of this. They’re too worried that going to a stranger’s door, even if it’s standing open, and saying “Hi” will make them sound desperate for socialization, or too peppy, or that the encounter will be awkward for lack of common interests, or any number of other things.

Well, I hate to say it, but that’s all possible. However, you’re not going to discover all the wonderful people around you without giving it a shot. Your best case scenario is that you happen to look in and see some sort of decoration or textbook that you can relate to the owner with and strike up a conversation.

Sometimes people don’t have their doors open, though, or sometimes you find you don’t really click with the people on your floor. Worst case scenario, you know who to avoid.


Find someone with a pet.

There are an increasing number of students on campus with therapy pets or who are training service dogs, or have animals for any number of other reasons. A lot of the time, you’ll see them walking their pupper through the halls or on the street, so take the chance to ask if you can pet them! Might be you who starts chatting. It’s happened to me often enough. The worst that can happen here is that they say “No” because the animal is in training. If you get to pet them and don’t really chat much, then it’s just a nice way to de-stress and brighten your day a bit. Why do you think UMass has dog therapy during exams?

Another way to get your foot in the door is if a friend happens to mention that one of their friends or someone on their floor has animals. They can introduce you! Next time they go over to visit, they can bring you along! Simply by going to a different dorm, you’ll probably run into some animals.

Heck, while I was helping to move someone in this year, I met a couple of girls who kept axolotls in their room, and I’d never even heard of such creatures!

The point is that the best you can do is try. Animal owners tend to be friendly, happy folk anyhow, so it’s a safer bet than meeting some random person in your hall. If you both love animals, then you’ve already got something to bond over.

Now go out there and find something fluffy to cuddle!

Song of the Week: No, I am not going to post “Who Let The Dogs Out.” Not that many songs have much to do with animals, but I think this song pretty well captures the spirit of what I’m encouraging here! Enjoy “Beautiful Day” by U2!



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