It isn’t breaking news that college can be a hard adjustment.
After all, it’s not easy being thrown into a new environment that you’re unfamiliar with. Yet, I’m sure we’ve all heard stories of awesome, somewhat miraculous, college friendships that have made us hopeful for our college social lives. However, just like college itself, there’s a lot more to these friendships than you may have been told. Here’s a breakdown of some truths about making friends in college and tips for making it through:
- People are going to cancel plans on you
Tip: Don’t take it personally
There’s going to be at least a few times where someone is going to last-minute cancel your plans (you may even end up being the one canceling!). Canceled plans undoubtedly suck, but they aren’t the end of the world! Oftentimes, when this would happen, my mind would jump to the conclusion of “oh they don’t want to hang out.” In reality, when it comes to being a college student, everyone is leading a pretty busy life, so really canceling plans is often nothing personal.
- You’re going to feel lonely sometimes
Tip: Surround yourself with others
There is no universal solution when it comes to combatting loneliness — and I even argue that it can actually be good to be alone. However, if loneliness is bringing you down, one of the best things you can do when you’re feeling especially lonesome is to be in a place where there are other people. That could be going to the ~new~ library to do your homework, spending some free time in Saxby’s or just relaxing in your residence hall’s common area. The point is to get yourself out of your dorm or apartment and have yourself surrounded by other people because even just being near others can help make you feel less alone (and who knows, someone might just come up and say hi).
- Making friends is hard
Tip: Take chances
Being open to opportunities and taking chances can really help when it comes to making friends in college. So talk to that girl who sits next to you in class or say hi to the people down the hall. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to others instead of just waiting to be introduced. You could even wind up meeting your best friend through a newly formed common acquaintance. The point is, you never know who you could end up being friends with until you say hi.
- Maintaining friendships is even harder
Tip: Have weekly friend dates
With becoming more independent in college, you become completely in control of your time management. And if you’re already a procrastinator (like me), this means your balance between your social life and school work is totally skewed. Factoring in little weekly friend dates of grabbing food or coffee, seeing a movie or going thrifting in the city can help you strengthen your friendships in college. Plus, by setting aside this time, you’re allowing the rest of your time to be spent on assignments, so you can see your friends and get work done. Win-win!
While it may seem like I’m being a downer about college friendships, my friendships here are amazing and I’ve gotten to become friends with some of the best people I’ve ever come to know. It was definitely not immediate — it took some time and effort to find the people I felt most connected with, and even though it may have felt hard, it was worth it in the end.