First semester of college can be really hard. It's a new experience for us all and it's one where we will learn more about ourselves in a short 3 months then we ever did in 18 years of living. There might be more panic attacks, all nighters, and higher intakes of coffee than our body was previously used to. There will also be a dramatic change to how we view and handle relationships.
I'm not just talking about romantic relationships. Relationships with your new friends, your roommate, fellow classmates, new professors, and coworkers and peers. The way you create, build, and handle these new relationships are much different than what you've done in the past. From the first day you move onto your college's campus, you're going to feel like a fish lost at sea. There are many ways people handle this newfound environment. They can decide to take shelter and bunker in and wait for things to settle down before they start putting themselves out there. Some might find one or two people to stick close to and "latch on" and "not let go." Some might be like me–they will try and meet everyone (to some degree) but not full enough so the other person can't say they actually KNOW you. The problem with this method is that you will start to run into people you don't remember meeting but they will wave at you (which is nice) and when they start asking you questions and addressing you by your first name things get awkward, especially when you don't remember their name.
This will typically happen for the first week or two. In my situation, there will be a couple of people that will stick out and you will start to form a closer bond of some sort with them. If you're like me, I keep my circles small and friends close-knit. Having that smaller friend group helps me but I know every person is different and that is what makes us all unique.
Before delving into the other relationships we have on campus, there is the one relationship that can either make or break us: the roommate. For me I lucked out. Others I've met haven't been so lucky. They can either be a gift sent from heaven or a living hell. There can even be an in-between, but those are also hard to come by as well. Like I mentioned before, I happened to have found one of the best roommates someone can ask for–well maybe not the COMPLETE best but sometimes you have to give a little to get a little. I just know it's a blessing that I don't have to regret living on campus and walking into my dorm at night.
Professors (not as bad as people make them seem)
By being on campus, my friends and roommate aren't the only people I see everyday (or at least multiple times a week). While this semester most of my classes were in an online asynchronous format, I still had classes where I would be either in person or on Zoom at a specified time–during both of which I would be interacting with other students and my professors. While this past semester was a little weird in terms of in-person classroom interaction, I stuck it out and was still able to connect with my professors. Some people might say to me, "well why does it matter if you get to know a professor you will probably never have again?” To that I respond, "Why not?" I love getting to know my professors and other classmates, even if there is a 99% chance they will never teach another one of my classes again. And you never know, by getting to know just one professor each semester, you can build a network that can help you when applying for future scholarships, internships, and jobs.
Work = Money = Paying off student loans
Speaking about jobs, when you start a new job on campus, your interaction circle gets even bigger. If you have a job like mine, where you are engaging students, you tend to eventually meet at least 50% of the student body on campus. Not only am I meeting other students but on a day-to-day basis, I get to work with wonderful people in my office and by helping each other reach our goals. Working and living in an environment where you can continue to connect with others and push others to reach their full potential is something that is great beyond belief.
Now, yes, I know I'm a happy-go-lucky person and try to think of the optimistic side of things. Even my sociology professor commented on my optimism in light of a difficult subject matter. But with optimism comes being realistic. Not every person you meet is going to like you or you like them. Not every person you thought might be your friend will stay that way. Realizing there are going to be some bridges you are going to have to let burn on their own, or you personally setting flame to them, is part of growing and maturing some relationships. There might also be times when instead of burning the bridge, you need to repair it. It's not always going to be sunshine and rainbows. Take it from the person who had the option to either choose a match or a hammer. It can be a hard choice, but it's something we will all have to do eventually. Through communication, empathy, and respect, we will all eventually find the right people meant for us.
Now romantic relationships, that's another story for another article…