How friendly are Palo Alto students?


By Julianna Montoya
Pulse Staff Reporter

We associate college with the time that young adults want to find who they aspire to be along with like-minded peers who will hopefully become lifelong friends.

Unfortunately, instances occur where some students have difficulty communicating their interests with others, causing frustration and isolation.

After speaking with various students attending Palo Alto College, most agree certain patterns exist that can both hinder and enable friendship.

Every student who participated in the interviewing process agreed that they have never endured an unfriendly experience from a fellow student on this campus. However, a common trend among these students is that most prefer to have someone approach them first instead of taking it upon themselves to talk to new people. If our campus is as amiable as most people claim, why the disconnect?

“Since we have our phones, there’s no need for active socialization,” said Steven Austin King, a freshman English major at PAC.

A common sight on campus is students with their noses buried in their phones, often walking or sitting alone. Whether they are invested in their playlists or social media, many peers wouldn’t consider approaching them. The phone acts as a communication barrier.

Another pattern many students notice is that it’s easier to communicate with peers in classroom settings rather than other areas on campus. Students will befriend the peers they sit by in class, where they are more comfortable being approached, and where they are involved in activities, such as group work or class discussion.

Occasionally, some students may not get along well with their classmates, and this will lead to looking for friends in other settings. Some of the more popular hangouts at PAC are the Student Center and the Ozuna Library.

“You can always go to the Student Center, and [meet new people],” said Sydney Magallenez, a sophomore Education major.

Magallenez explained that random peers join her when she sits alone in the cafeteria and that some will spark conversation with her on occasion. Given that the cafeteria space is small, it becomes congested and encourages students to share the space with others.

Cliques are a common sight in the cafeteria; these are groups of people who share common interests. If students don’t have a particular clique, they can try campus organizations, such as Club Earth, the Horticulture Club, or the Photography Club. If you’re unsure about what organizations are available, visit the PAC web page.

Ultimately the issue that comes into question is whether or not students can take it upon themselves to be outgoing.

“It’s up to you to be that social butterfly,” said Joshua Cervantes, a sophomore Electrical Engineering major.

If you are unsure about how to initiate small talk with your peers, try things such as complimenting what they’re wearing or engaging in a conversation with someone while waiting in a line at the café or waiting outside a classroom. The worst that can happen is that they may be in a hurry or just not willing to converse. Most often, you can expect the best and you might develop a new friendship.