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I’m a freshman, meaning I started university about a month ago. I was absolutely thrilled to finally study something I’m actually interested in, attend wild parties and meet tons of new people. Or at least that’s what I kept telling my friends and family. In all honesty, in addition to being excited I was utterly terrified. Being an introvert, I was scared that I wouldn’t make any friends. Don’t get me wrong, I think that meeting new people is a lot of fun and in a way, I find it very enjoyable, but then again it also stresses me out. Sometimes I really struggle to figure out what to say to people I’ve never met before, which can lead to me seeming rather quiet. Because of this it may be hard for others to approach me. So, the day before the first day of university my head was flooding with pictures of me standing alone in a corner while everyone else was making friends and having fun. It goes without saying that my anxiety was totally unnecessary.

When I arrived at the university, I was greeted with warm smiles and welcoming faces. My worry about not being able to figure out what to say had been in vain since I actually didn’t have to: our tutors had us do exercises to get to know each other, during which we had ready-made topics given to us. And most importantly everyone was incredibly nice and kind. A couple of times I was sitting by myself after finishing a conversation with somebody and almost immediately someone else came up to me to introduce themselves which made it easy for me to do the same. To put it shortly, the whole day was a success and now, a month later, I have lunch with my new, amazing group of friends every day. The moral of the story: it’s going to be okay, honestly. If you’re an introvert like me or just otherwise nervous about meeting new people, don’t worry. You are definitely not the only one. I found it quite soothing to just be open about my fears and tell the people I met how nervous I had been the day before and how scared I was about being left all alone. Most likely they’ve been feeling the same way and it’ll give you something to talk about. And as we all know, the most important thing to remember is to be yourself. It’s such a cliché but there’s really no need to try to be someone you’re not because you are enough and amazing just the way you are. Being true to yourself and kind to others will certainly get you far.

Lotta Nieminen

Helsinki '24

I study social science and when I don't I really like to look at butterflies, take naps and think about how I'm going to make the world a better place some day.
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