As a sophomore in college, I look back at my freshman year and say, “Wow, that was one hell of a ride.”
In high school I was super outgoing with everyone; I knew everyone, and everyone was my friend. But then I arrived at college, and I realized things here are not the same.
Some people might have a different experience than I did, and maybe it was the opposite for them. But if you are like me and struggle at making friends in college, especially now that classes are online, you are not alone. Here’s how I got through it and how I found the light at the end of the tunnel.
[bf_image id="qdh6cs-blnh08-a35r1q"] Thankfully I already knew my roommate beforehand. She and I are both from Puerto Rico, and we met once before flying with our families to Washington, D.C. as freshmen to move in. We got along so well right off the bat, and I am very grateful for her since she was a big part of my freshman year.
I was looking forward to introducing myself to the other people on my floor because I was excited to make new friends, but it was harder than I thought. All of a sudden, the extrovert Laisa from high school seemed to be gone, and there was just a shy version of her left.
As the weeks passed I grew more confident in myself. I guess college grew on me. I made some friends from my different classes, and friends of friends became my friends too. It was not an easy ride, but I am happy to say that I’ve finally found my best friends in college.
I always had the mentality that the more friends, the better. And don’t get me wrong, having a lot of friends is super cool. But in college, I have fully understood the term quality over quantity. I did not mind that it seemed that my whole floor was friends with each other and I was not included, because I had found my people.
It can take time to find yours, or you might even find them quickly. But coming from someone who thought that she was destined to not have friends in college, it does get better. You will find your people. The people who hype you up, make you laugh until you pee yourself, and truly care about you.
If online school is an obstacle for you to make friends right now, do not worry. I have the most essential tips that have worked for me in order for you to grow the courage to socialize with people and make friends.
1. What do you have to lose?
I always think about this when professors put us in breakout rooms. If for some reason you initiate a conversation and they do not like you, then don't worry, you do not have to face them each time you have class because you are just on your computer. But if they do like you, congratulations! You just made new friends because you had nothing to lose.
2. Ask them about themselves
I am pretty sure we have all experienced that awkward silence when you finished what you had to discuss in your breakout room. When that happens, ask them what year they are in, what are their majors, and any clubs that could be of potential interest to you. Also, sharing your thoughts on if the assignment was hard or not can lead to a friendly and off-topic conversation that could be enjoyable for all.
3. Ask for or provide help
This year, I have made friends with people who I was put in breakout rooms with because I offered to help them in future assignments, and because I asked if we could study together, or if they could find a way to help me understand the material. This is a good way to find a study buddy and develop a friendship.
4. Be yourself!
I know that this is the most cliché thing ever, but it is true. The right friends will be there because they like you for who you are. If you pretend to be someone you are not, then what is the point of having a safe, trusting relationship with your friends?
5. Don’t be too hard on yourself
I cannot stress this enough! I was so hard on myself my freshman year because I wanted to make friends and find my people so badly, but you just gotta go with the flow. If you do one or all of the things that are stated above, I can most definitely guarantee good outcomes. The right fit for you and the right friends are out there. You just have to be patient and be confident that you are enough, and everything happens for a reason.
Whether you are taking my experience and advice now for online school, or using it for next semester for hopefully in-person classes, just remember: quality over quantity!