Making friends: It’s not quite as easy as they said it would be. Having recently begun my first year of Journalism at DCU, I have learned this first hand.
The social aspect of college is one that we are all guilty of focusing on in first year. No one can deny that the dreams of new nights out in the big city and the all too famous ‘shite night’ haas captured our imaginations from the moment CAO offers came out. However, you can’t have this DCU social life without friends. Most people, come to college in first year with little or no friends and are left to start mainly from scratch.
So, go make friends, then right? That’s what we are all trying to do, so it must be easy.
The truth is, making good friends just isn’t that easy. There are many reasons for this difficulty. But never fear, I’ve tried to uncover solutions for these blockades to friendship.
If you’re commuting or in digs, you have limited time to meet people. Nights out could be a rarity depending on your situation and living away from any group student accommodation means your time on campus is invaluable to socialisation. Basically, who you meet, or do not get to meet, depends on where you live.
Sharing taxis home with people you know, or staying with a friend after a night out can help you if you are in this situation. Also investigating and utilising the best fit of buses or trains to and from college can help you to maximise your time on campus every day, offering you more opportunities to meet new people and attend events after lectures.
2: Free Time
Free time is necessary if you want to experience clubs and societies, nights out or any events you are invited to that could offer a chance to socialise. If your course has long hours or perhaps you’re working a part time job while in college, finding free time to solidify new friendships could be tough. People in this situation could struggle to meet new people outside of their course.
It is important to try and find a healthy balance between work, academics and free time. Even when you feel you need to be spending all your time on your college work to keep up, make sure to include some time every day on relaxation. You should prioritise your emotional wellbeing even when you feel your focus should be on more ‘important’ things.
The speed at which friendships are expected and required to develop in college can really put pressure on people to lower any standards they would typically have for a friend. It can be difficult to develop trust in someone in the space of weeks or even days. Therefore, learning how to trust and get to know new people quickly, though risky is necessary.
To try and get to know people as quickly as possible, ask people questions about themselves and try to remember what they have said next time that you see them. This can be tricky, especially when you could be talking to loads of new people every day, but try your best and if your memory fails simply ask again!
College, especially ours is filled with massive personalities and outgoing individuals. There are those people that just beam a noticeable and identifiable confidence in every course, lecture hall and even library. It can hence be easy to become swallowed up in the thousands of personalities. To initiate the first conversation with someone new you often either must have this natural confidence, or be brave enough to do without it.
I personally, don’t have this natural confidence but have learned to push myself to attempt and try new things that can be quite nerve racking. For example, putting myself forward for First Year rep for HerCampus. This was not something I had planned on doing but once in the room I felt I would regret not going for the position too much to stay quiet. This decision took a bit of bravery on my part but benefited me (even though I didn’t get the position) by fast tracking my confidence and comfortability in the society and among the other members. Basically, before even really joining the society, I had already introduced myself to everyone, at the top of the room.
Of course, there are many more reasons why the seemingly simple act of making friends can often be far from simple, but to me, these are the ones that stand out the most.
Although, clearly somehow, we all manage to do it. I’ve concluded that in truth, to make friends in your first year you either must be quick and out there, or be patient and picky. If you’re capable of being both, then you’ve likely hit the jackpot.