When you first get your acceptance letter, you feel that immediate wash of relief come over you. I made it. Thank goodness.
Then half a second later, you feel the excitement. Wait. I actually got in. I DID that!!
And maybe it takes a few moments or hours or days to sink in, actualize and materialize. But after that’s all said and done, you get nervous. SOO nervous. The: am I really doing this? Can I handle this? Will I make friends?? Where will I fit in???
Or, at least, that’s how we felt. With admittance to a university comes this anxiousness about friend-making, socializing, fitting in. Some of us have chosen to travel very far from home for college, which comes with the fear of being lonely. For all first-years, college is uncharted territory. It’s like the freshman year of high school all over again, and it’s not fun. Oof.
We’re writing to talk about how those nerves can be combated through the summer before college! Or rather, how we used GroupMe to combat that. We’ve put together 5 steps to, through friend-making, create a more comfortable transition into college.
Step 1. Follow the Facebook page.
This step is pretty self explanatory. Don’t ignore the email you’ll receive with the link to join the Facebook group! Joining the page will help you keep up with university news, you can find other new student’s introductions and post your own, and find general chat group links (e.g. GroupMe or Snapchat) to get to know others.
Step 2. Join the GroupMe Groups (or Snapchat groups). ALL the GroupMes.
Step 3. Be present! Message and chat and get to know your future peers. In a big group chat, a lot of people will lurk and miss out on what the experience is truly about. A simple “hello” and tiny questions such as asking about favorites can spark more in depth conversations and even friendships.
This is how we met! After meeting in a Dana Hall GroupMe chat, we started to direct message and get to know each other. It takes effort to get to know someone online, but it’s not much different from face-to-face conversation. We created simple small talk, asked questions, and sent memes. Between us, and with others, we tried to find common ground and grow closer from that. Such examples include our meme themed nights, and conversations about movies, tv shows, family, and politics.
Step 4. Meet!! This will happen once you arrive to campus. Reach out to your peers and ask to get lunch, dinner, or just to meet in an agreed area.
After we got to know each other through direct messaging, we agreed to meet up on campus. From there, our friendship solidified and we grew very close. Now we’re best friends! Having the opportunity to get to know one another over the summer made this experience much, much more comfortable. Being able to enter a new lifestyle with some sense of familiarity and comfort is something all of us were really grateful to have.
Step 5. Accept that the friendship might be different in person. It could be better or it could be worse. If your friend (or friends) and your common ground is only that you live in the same hall, don’t expect an ideal connection with them. Accept the possibility that they’re different and unique from you, and that’s okay.
Even though we met over the summer and were very close, the connection didn’t completely stay during the transition from moving to campus. Many of us have gone our separate ways, but we haven’t let that create negativity between us.
For the friendships that did persist, we are incredibly grateful. We hope that anyone going into their first year of college will find these steps useful. Remember: you are not alone. Everybody surrounding you feels the same fears, pressures, and uncertainties.