Leaving Friends and Making New Ones
Hey there! Most college freshman have already moved in, but, here I am, sitting at home. I have to admit, it’s really depressing to see everyone else have fun with their new lives while I’m still being forced to do my family’s dishes. I only have 4 days until I’m in Wisconsin and it could not come any faster.
Unlike me, most typical high school graduates have a tight knit group of friends that live in their city. You’ve grown up with them, been through elementary, middle, and high school. They’re your day ones! Now, the future is here, and most people are heading off to different destinations. You may get lucky and end up going to a college with some of your friends, but you also may end up like me, and be the only person from your high school going far away from home for college. I’ve moved time and time again; I went to 2 different elementary schools, two different middle schools, and three different high schools! With that said, I can say I’ll be able to adjust leaving friends, but for others it’s incredibly difficult.
You’re leaving your city! While this is both exciting and scary, it’s also sad. You, among hundreds of others, will all be “new kids” again. Not only will you have to get used to a new school, you’ll be away from family, your home, your friends, and the rest of your safety net. Now you could ball yourself in blankets in your dorm and wallow in self pity, but I don’t recommend it. It’s important to put yourself out there and introduce yourself to new people. Orientation and welcome week are said to be the most important times to meet people, and you might feel left out if you don’t include yourself and make effort. After all of that, I think it’s fair to allow yourself to be a little sad.
To cope with leaving friends, bring photos! It’s common to decorate dorms with printed photos of friends. You can hang them on the wall, put them on a corkboard, or tape them on your dresser. For some, this is a great way to remind yourself that you have loving and supportive friends at home, always.
If you’re really missing home, there is nothing wrong with visiting another college or going home for the weekend! A getaway is really healthy, especially if you’re overworked at school. Plus, catching up with old pals is nothing but fun. I promise, you won’t miss anything too important at your school during one weekend. Or, you could always invite your friends to come see you! Make sure your roommate is okay with having a few people spend time in your dorm for a while. Other than that, have fun!
When I had orientation day at the Indiana Academy my Junior year, I was very extroverted and talked to as many people as I could. I scoped out people I knew I wanted to be friends with, and approached nice looking people. After all, making friends is totally encouraged at events like these. The people I met on orientation day, as well as move in day, became my absolute best friends. Because I put myself out there, spent time in the lounges, and had a smile on my face, I had a close group of friends. My first friend at the Academy was Steven, who you all know from his posts. All in all, what I’m trying to say by sharing this is experience, is that it’s so important to make an effort! In college, nearly all freshman are a bit scared, and are more than happy to talk to new people. Even if you talk to someone once, and never again after that, you tried.
Once you’re in your dorm, talk to your neighbors! Introduce yourself and potentially offer them some food. I firmly believe that offering food is the best way to make great friends, especially if you have cookies. Take that in a lighthearted manner though, don’t stress yourself out trying to impress people!
Another really great way to meet new people is to be involved on campus. Go to the club fair of some sort that your university is bound to have and sign up for a few things! You might not feel comfortable going alone to things, but college is about discovering yourself and becoming more comfortable with who you are. I guarantee if you show up to a club meeting alone, nobody is staring at you wondering where your friends are. The same thing applies to meals, it’s 100% okay to eat alone, sit by yourself, or to grab some food and leave. Heck, if it’s move-in week, someone will probably even sit with you if you’re alone!
One other tip for making friends is to join a sorority or fraternity. I plan on rushing after my first semester! I don’t know much, but from what I’ve been told and from what I can tell, people make lifelong bonds with those in their fraternity/sorority. There’s nothing better than having a community of people you can always count on.
For those of you that have already moved in, I suppose these tips won’t exactly benefit you, but for those that aren’t in college yet, I encourage you to take my advice! As much as you tell yourself you don’t need anyone to count on, it’s really great to have people that care about you. Making effort really goes a long way.
Until next time,