Finding Friends as a College Freshman in a Pandemic

Let’s face it, for most college freshmen finding friends can be a challenging endeavor. Now, add a pandemic to the mix, along with some other difficulties I had to face at the start of college, and my challenge of finding friends escalated to a whole new level. 

woman sitting in front of Macbook Photo by from Pexels

Strike one.

With the pandemic sweeping the nation, rules were put in place, that, although they were for everyone’s safety, this made my college experience take a turn for the worse. Social gatherings were discouraged, in-person classes were limited, and seating was distanced. And, with masks on all the time, friendly smiles were non-existent.  

Strike two. 

Since I decided to attend CU Boulder at the last-minute, I couldn’t get into the dorms, so I had to live off-campus, which made it difficult to meet other freshman students. 

Strike three. 

I’m shy. Trying to get a timid girl to go out and make friends is no different than trying to get frat boys to sip on herbal tea at a party, impossible.

Despite my rocky beginning at CU Boulder, I somehow managed to find my people, but it was far from easy. 

It all started when my parents dropped me off. My heart sunk to the depths of my stomach when their car drove away. I felt as though they had abandoned me in a foreign land. At that point, I had two choices: I could feel sorry for myself and have a miserable experience, or I could rewrite my story. Thankfully, I chose the latter. 

three silhouettes in orange sunset Photo by Levi Guzman from Unsplash

I said goodbyes to my shy persona, and I was ready to navigate through the obstacles of COVID-19. One evening, about a week into school, I decided to reach out to a girl from my high school to see if she had any plans. Although this wasn’t my first time putting myself out there, I pushed myself to continue going out with the hopes of eventually finding friends. The girl I knew from high school told me she was meeting up with some people from different dorms at a park not too far from my apartment. As I headed over there, dark thoughts popped into my head, telling me that this was a bad idea. I wasn’t the type of girl who just showed up to places alone––without a sidekick. Back in high school, I barely went to the bathroom without my friend coming with me. Who did I think I was going to the park by myself to try and meet people? 

Once I arrived, my negative thoughts subsided, and I realized it was going to be okay. Except for the one girl I knew from high school, I didn’t know any of the other people. If it didn’t go well, I could always leave. Stepping toward the group, I told myself to fake it until I made it, and pushed myself to be friendly and outgoing. 

After introducing myself to everyone, I met two girls, who happened to be roommates, whom I instantly connected with. The three of us talked for a while, and I felt comfortable being myself around them. I went home that night fulfilled, knowing that I was one step closer to finding real friends. Flash forward to now, and those two girls have become my closest friends at school, along with another girl they introduced me to. I am lucky to have found three best friends that I have so much in common with, that I can laugh with, and know that we have each other’s backs.   

The beauty of life is that your story is not set in stone, and you can edit and rewrite it as many times as you want. I could’ve allowed the strikes at the onset of school to get me down, but I chose to rise above them, and thankfully, I managed to score a big win.