finding friends in college





Hello everyone!!

I know that many of you just finished high school (and probably graduated- congrats!!) so you have the idea of college on your mind. Many of you are also in college now, and might be struggling to adjust to your new life or make new friends. Since I have completed my first year at school, I wanted to give you all some insight on how to find good (and genuine) friends in your first year at college. No one expects you to figure out everything within that first semester, but it is important to find a few close friends to help you adjust and feel more connected to your campus.

I was so lucky this year to find incredible friends. I was blessed with a built in friend in my roommate (love her so much!!) and our relationship as roommates grew into best friends. My summer orientation roommate also became a bestie, and some of my hallmates became part of that tight-knit group of best friends. I know it might seem crazy to say I have several "best" friends, but I've learned that I operate better with several super close friends and then a bunch of other friends rather than one sole best friend. I have such good relationships with my "besties" that I would never delegate that title to just one- I love them all too much!! I found that in the beginning of the year, everyone was latching on to someone they met during orientation, and then friendships developed from there. Sometimes it seemed that people would find one small commonality with someone and be their best bud for about a week until they found someone else. Thankfully I didn't experience this, but this is definitely an aspect of those first few weeks of college- just trying to find similarities with people and hoping to find your people along the way.

Sadly I know that not everyone will be as lucky as I was in their first year, which is just part of college, and honestly part of life. My hope for those of you that begin to struggle in your first year is that this post might be a helpful guideline for finding your friends. I am no expert in friend pairings (is that even a thing?), but I hope you can take my advice with a grain of salt and trust the process. One of the most important things I've learned in my first year of college is to trust the process and trust that everything will work out. Sometimes things might seem like they are going the wrong way, but there is a plan laid out for you. I always trusted that the Lord was guiding me in the right direction, even if I wasn't necessarily happy with the beginning steps of that journey. No matter what happens freshman year, understand that things happen for a reason, and there is always a a method behind the seemingly madness. I felt that my friends were placed into my life for a reason, and that I was always meant to meet them. I hope you find those friends in your first year, but if not, understand that this is all part of His plan for you.


my summer orientation roomie (aka one of my BFFs) 

// be friendly //

Being friendly seems like an obvious tip, but it can go a very long way in those first couple of weeks at school. Everyone is nervous (literally EVERYONE) about finding friends. Friendships won't come if you ignore others or fail to say hello. If you don't know anyone in the dining hall, go up and ask a friendly face if you can join. This is so easier said than done, but in those first couple of weeks, any kind gesture will go a long way. You just need to fake it till you make it (or until you hit it off with some people that become your close-knit friends). Everyone is just trying to get by those first few months, so finding a friendly face in a class or the dining hall could lead to a friendship. Many colleges now have pretty intense orientation sessions with plenty of icebreakers, so be yourself during those icebreakers and strike up conversations when you find similarities among people in your orientation group. Icebreakers are meant to connect people, no matter how awkward they may seem. And if it's the second or third week of school and you're still struggling with friends, reach out to some people in your orientation group! Overall, just be friendly and reach out to others, no matter how weird it may seem.

hallmates (and summer O roomie) cheering on Jennah (another hallmate!!) 

// don't compare //

It's so hard not to compare your friends to other people at school. I got frustrated at the beginning of the year because it seemed like everyone had found their group. That's just not really true. People are latching on to who they can find at the beginning of the year. Chances are, the people you hang out with the most at the very beginning of the year won't be your close friends by the end of your first year (or even your first semester). I do have close friends from that first "circle" of friends, but my friend "group" has expanded and moved to other people as the year has progressed. Some of my closest friends were those I met in the beginning of the year, but my overall friend group has expanded over the course of the year. I definitely was blessed to have found some super close friends in the beginning, but I continued to meet people over the year and expand my circle of friends. I even have a friend who barely sees the people he hung out with during orientation. So if you feel that you aren't finding your people yet, don't worry. It will come with time and you can't force it. It might seem like everyone has their group set in stone, but more than likely they are all just hanging on to each other until they find their close-knit and "true" friends. And if it seems that everyone is having an amazing time (whether that be people at your school or high school friends at other schools), not everyone is portraying their true experience. It might look like your BFF from high school has found 50 million new friends, but maybe she is just trying to find the right friend.

// go out of your way //

If you are struggling to connect with others, go out of your way to invite acquaintances. Join clubs or attend social events. Friends won't come to you. You have to put an effort into meeting people and connecting. One of the biggest problems people have with finding friends is not putting themselves out there. They will sit in their room and not socialize. Or they won't put in any effort to get together with people they have met. Initiate lunch dates with people, invite a group to a campus event, ask a group of people from a class to study together. There are plenty of ways to connect with people, but sometimes it does require your effort to initiate that. I've already mentioned orientation, but once again if you do have orientation groups and/or leaders at your school, reach out to your group. You can also reach out to your orientation leader if you are struggling, and they can help you find your way. As an orientation leader, I promise to be available to students who are struggling in finding friends. Sometimes having an upperclassman friend can help a new student find their way as well.

// be social //

Attend social events, parties, and get togethers. If you can't find anyone to go with, ask a hallmate or roommate or even someone from your orientation group. Make yourself present at all the orientation activities, no matter how annoying or goofy they may seem. Those events and beginning of the year parties are meant to help you meet people, so attend them! And if people invite you to those things, even if you don't know them super well, think about going! Of course be safe and trust who you are going with, but if someone extends an invite to you, go!

some of my sorority sisters (and friends!!) at formal 

// joining organizations //

This probably seems obvious, but joining organizations will ultimately lead you to people with similar interests that will most likely become your friends! This is especially true for Greek life. If you are a struggling to find friends, simply going through the recruitment process can help you meet so many people- and you don't even have to join a sorority if you don't want to! If you do decide to join a sorority, your new sisters will automatically be your friends. You might not be super close to every single one of them, but you will share a bond with them that you won't share with anyone else on campus! Greek life is seriously one of the best organizations to find and make friends in, so give recruitment (and even joining a sorority) a chance even if you're hesitant about it. -

my roomie and I had many guests over in our dorm!?

// dorm time //

While it may seem like your dorm room is for sleeping and escaping people (because same sometimes haha), your room can be a great place for meeting people. During the first few weeks of school, leave your dorm open while you're inside. I remember during the first week of school a couple of my friends walked around the halls and peeked our heads inside the rooms with doors open. This is a great way to familiarize yourself with faces too, which can help school seem more familiar in the beginning months. I also remember that by having my door open, people on my hall would pop in and strike up a conversation. Your hallmates could also become some of your closest friends!

// meals are meant to be social //

I cannot remember a time when I ate by myself at school. I always went to the dining hall with a friend, and sometimes other people would join the table. The dining hall can be an extremely social place, and people will always be coming up to your table and saying hello (which is a great way to meet people, especially if you are already eating with a group of people and their friends come up!). I've met so many people through the dining hall. Be sure to sit in the open and be welcoming.

// be yourself //

One of the biggest things you can do to help yourself out is be yourself. Do not try to be anyone but you! Everyone wants to start "fresh" in college, but don't change yourself to cater to someone else. College can help you find the best version of yourself, so put the best self you can on display. If you are being yourself, chances are you will find your people. If you aren't acting yourself or trying to change who you are to fit in to the people you are meeting, you will not find your people.


To all freshmen entering college- you are about to have the time of your life!! Enjoy freshman year, even with all the awkward and cringe-y moments (which you will have a lot!!). Trust that no matter what happens, there is a plan for you. It is completely normal to struggle to find friends during the first semester. First semester is tough- and most college students will tell you that too. You will feel lonely at times, but try to be positive about finding friends. You will find your people- sometimes it just doesn't happen over night.

If you enjoyed this post, check out my other college posts! I will be doing posts all summer relating to college life, so stay tuned for those. I hope you enjoyed, and let me know below if you have any requests!

For bloggers: Finding Time to Blog in College
Staying Healthy in College
10 Items I Almost Forgot to Pack for College
Designing a Dorm Room
My Sorority Recruitment Experience 

xoxo,

Madison




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