Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Dalhousie chapter.

I have always been in love with the idea of friendships. Having the right people in your life can help you thrive, especially when you’re transitioning into adulthood and pushing past your comfort zone.

Since completing my first year of university, my perception of friendships has shifted in a way I never expected. 

Building and maintaining connections with others has helped me better understand the person I am, as well as the person I want to become. In university, there are endless ways to meet new people. Building strong connections that will stand the test of time is the real challenge. 

Being born and raised in a small town, I mostly kept to myself in high school. I was lucky to have a few amazing friends but, as my first year of university approached, I started daydreaming about ways I could reinvent myself. I was tired of being known as shy, and I was elated to finally have the opportunity to change that. 

I promised myself as soon as I got to university I would be extroverted, bubbly, and go out of my way to start conversations with everyone that crossed my path. During my first few weeks at school, I achieved this goal. I was a fearlessly outgoing version of myself, and being in a new environment felt euphoric.

People always told me that university is the place where I would meet my lifelong friends, and subsequently feel a sense of purpose and belonging. No one warned me how lonely I would feel, even while surrounded by people. 

I spent the summer leading up to my first year constantly wondering how my life would change in the fall. I became obsessed with my own image, likeability, and identity. I had never been so desperate to be liked in my life. 

The opportunity to ‘reinvent’ myself was an illusion; I was left overwhelmed and less sure of myself than ever. I quickly learned that in order to find ‘my people’, I had to find myself first.

During my first week at school, I met someone who would later become one of my dearest friends. We had one mutual friend, and we went as a group to a social event for orientation week. 

My first impression of her was that she was quiet, reserved, and honestly quite hard to read. 

When she asked me to hangout I was a little surprised, considering we didn’t interact much. I agreed nonetheless, and we met up over coffee. 

When I got to know her better, I noticed she tends to be a quiet observer when she first meets people. Her decision to pursue friendships is made wisely and intentionally. She has the ability to protect her energy by reserving it for connections that are right for her. 

This girl turned out to be one of the most insightful and kind people I’ve ever met. She and I have lived very different lives, yet she immediately made me feel understood. I always joke that in high school we never would have become friends, because of our many differences. 

My favourite thing about her is that she knows exactly who she is, and she doesn’t have to prove it to anyone.

Even though she never knew the person I once was, she makes me feel seen for who I’ve become. The fresh start I was looking for was achieved through honesty and personal authenticity.

Hiding from who you are in order to appeal to the masses won’t help you build fulfilling relationships. I learned that being by yourself is better than being with people who aren’t right for you. 

Understanding what you want to take away from your relationships will help you find the right ones. Not every friendship will become a soul-binding connection. They don’t have to be. 

Having people to chat, study, and go out with are all equally important and valid in their own way.

Friendships don’t have to be as complicated as we sometimes make them out to be. When you are being true to yourself, you will meet people who have shared values and interests. 

It’s so important not to compare your life to the lives of others. What may seem to be perfect friend group on social media is probably completely different in real life. 

The most genuine connections you make in university will happen organically, and you won’t feel like you need to change your personality to make friends. 

The more pressure that is put on friendships, the less likely they are to flourish. Don’t be afraid to do things by yourself. Join clubs that suit your interests, and take up space in social situations. 

Time is on your side, and I promise no one will judge you as much as you judge yourself. 

Her Campus Placeholder Avatar
Emily Conohan

Dalhousie '26

first year journalism student at university of kings college:)