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

As a third-year student, I had expected that my university experience would come with tons of lifelong friendships that I would carry with me after graduation and into adulthood. I had been told that university is “the best time of your life”, that the friendships you make are supposed to “last you forever”, and they’ll be the bridesmaids at my future wedding. University hasn’t been this experience for me so far.

My high school career was cut short – like many other students out there – and the friendships that I had made at that stage of my life faded out into the background of being a girl alone in her room self-isolating from those who made her feel whole. I found friendships within books and television, but I found myself sinking more and more into introversion. I found comfort more within myself than others.

For someone as introverted as myself, the pressure to find solid friendships was overwhelming throughout my first year of university. While I was comfortable being me, alone in my room surrounded by books and fictional characters, I still wanted to make the most out of my experience. This feeling of pressure carried into my second and third years at McMaster, and I realized I was holding myself back from meeting people and showing them who I was. It was a struggle for me to put myself out there without worrying about being judged or rejected.

Going into my third year, I vowed to myself to do my best to get out of my little bubble of comfort and find my people. Genuine and authentic friendships are hard to come by, but finally, clubs and classes are back in person. For those of you who are worried about making friends – join clubs!

Joining Her Campus was one of the best decisions I think I’ve made. Immediately, I was surrounded by a community of girls who were kind and understanding. I was put in an environment where support was easy to come by and I wasn’t alone in anything I was doing. I had a support system behind my back, and I knew they wouldn’t let me fall. I’m unbelievably thankful to the Her Campus team at McMaster for providing me with an experience of girlhood that I had been searching for, for years.

I was also lucky enough to join some clubs in my field of study. This allowed me to find a community of people who were interested in the same topics I was researching. I was able to find people who I had things in common with! They were in a similar boat. In that they focused too hard on academics which, unfortunately, came at the price of friendships. We were able to bond over this common mistake and how we were now finding friendships while focusing on our academics through academic-type clubs!

Along with clubs, one of the best things about university is the social events. By following a bunch of Instagram accounts from my university’s faculties and societies, I was able to find a ton of amazing social events that are pretty much made for people to make friends and network! I recently went to the Social Psychology movie night which was Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and it was so much fun! I was able to meet some of my fellow Her Campus members in person for the first time, as well as make some new friends in similar programs as me! Finding posts of socials on Instagram or other social media sites are a great way to put yourself out there, whether it’s throughout your program or a club you’re interested in – it’s so worth commenting or interacting with them to meet new people!

I’ve definitely put myself out there a lot more this year, and I have to say, I’m proud of myself. It’s not easy for an introverted bookworm to overcome the pressures of making friends sometimes, but I’m so glad that I have. I already feel like some of my friendships will last forever.

Maya is a fourth-year student at McMaster University, working towards a degree in Psychology and Human Behaviour. She is Co-President of the McMaster Chapter of Her Campus Media. In her spare time, you can find her jamming out to Taylor Swift, running a book blog, and binge-watching the newest and upcoming shows, usually all with an iced coffee in hand. She’s also interested in mental health and improving her own mental health by experimenting with different self-care and wellness methods, as well as sharing her experiences with others through her writing.