Dear Jessica,

I am one of the only students from my high school attending Binghamton University, so I will hardly know anyone on campus when I start in the fall semester. I’m pretty shy and didn’t really have a lot of friends in high school, so I’m worried that I will not make any new friends in college. Do you have any tips for being more outgoing when it comes to meeting people?

Welcome to BU! When there are few familiar faces on campus to help you out, it can be daunting to approach strangers whether in the dining hall or in class. My sure-fire friend-making technique is simple: doling out compliments. Complimenting the student sitting next to you, regardless of whether you actually love their sweater, is an immediate conversation starter. Plus, they will like you on the spot just for the kind comment. Another easy way to make friends is to simply leave the door to your dorm room open (while you are in it, of course). Wave or say hi to passersby — you will be surprised by how many will stop and introduce themselves!

Dear Jessica,

I’m really concerned about budgeting my meal plan money. In high school I didn’t need to have a personal budget, and I’m confused about which places are more expensive than others. I’ve heard horror stories about students who run out of meal plan money halfway through the semester. How do I make the money last?

One thing that has been helpful for me is knowing how much is allotted in my meal plan for each day, and paying attention as my meal is being totaled. This way I begin to learn exactly how much each item costs, and can have the more expensive items with less frequency. The Marketplace is generally more expensive than the dining halls, so try to limit your consumption there, even though it is sometimes more convenient. I always keep a snack in my backpack, whether it be a granola bar or some trail mix, so that if I’m hungry but don’t have time to get to a dining hall, I have something to hold me over until I’m back in my dorm. And I get these snacks from Target or Walmart, not the dining halls where packaged foods are often more expensive and can’t be bought in bulk to save.