The easiest way to make friends, anywhere, anytime, but specifically in college? Cook! I don’t mean the morning milk-and-cereal or ready meals you buy and just put in the microwave for five to ten minutes, I mean real food, prepared ‘with love’, just as your mother used to do before you left. I am not a chef, but from time to time I like to cook and more often than not, the food doesn’t end up in the trash. And every time I prepare something, my kitchen gets full – not only of tasty smells and veggies and pots – but of people.

Someone just enters the kitchen to get some water or something and they go with the classic “Oh! This smells good! What are you cooking?” and I’ll just ask them to stay and have a bite as I hardly ever really know what I am actually cooking – from time to time I follow some recipe or other, but most of the time I just improvise with things I have in the fridge.

Once I tried to cook a recipe from an anime – Shokugeki no Soma, if you want to know – and it was quite successful. So successful that even though I planned making enough food for at least two days, it was gone in less than half an hour with the help of six (or maybe nine?) people. And this is what happens most of the times I try cooking something that requires more than just the use of a microwave.

But I don’t mind. I really don’t. Actually, I like it when people come to eat with me – it somehow makes me feel like home; people everywhere, who talk about their day and are happy over some pie and a glass of wine. The kitchen, quite a magical place, actually makes college feel more like a home than expected, as long as people have a reason to spend time in there. And this is so perfect for a shy person (like me). There is nothing more I hate than starting a conversation, but in the kitchen there is no need for a start – people just talk and change subject and laugh and spend time together; there is no awkward silence – you always have the perfect sounds of food simmering and wine pouring. Cooking really helped me make friends, and not just friends among the people who live in the same flat as me.

But don’t take my word for it! Just go cook and share some of your food with people – even if you are not that skilled in the kitchen, most people would appreciate the effort and the fact that you thought about them too.

(Of course, they would appreciate it even more if you could serve them a perfectly cooked steak and some chocolate cake, but hey, you’re only a student and you’ve just began your journey in the kitchen).