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

When I lived at home, I was never allowed to hang out with my friends, and my friends from school were only friends at school. I would involve myself in activities such as Associated Student Body (ASB), school soccer, and other random clubs and activities in hopes of socializing with people outside of a scholarly context. I was always very chatty, and teachers told my parents that although I was the perfect student on paper, I talked way too much. I couldn’t help it, though; it was the only time I had to socialize, and when those eight hours of school were over, I was back home, anxiously waiting for texts from my friends at school.

After COVID hit, everyone was put into the same social situation, and I saw myself and others relying on our phones and computers for socialization. Unfortunately, many then developed these tech addictions, relying on TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat for entertainment and holding on to that last thread of connection with the outside world.

In the fall of 2021, I moved into the dorms at my university, and though I considered myself to be pretty outgoing and social, I had to learn how to socialize with this completely new environment of people. Suddenly being able to determine whether I wanted to go out and party or stay in and have some alone time. I sometimes chose to stay in due to fear of the outside world.

I knew I wanted to take advantage of the college experience, but I had to find a way to somehow put these fears aside and immerse myself in the college environment. I had to come out of my shell and say yes to things more often, not just wait for people to ask me to hang out or go out, but also take the initiative in asking friends to make plans. My goal was to stop backing out of plans at the last minute because I was scared. Rather, I would forget those fears and just enjoy the experience instead of worrying about what could go wrong.

Through this mindset, I had more fun and created tight-knit friendships with those around me. Though it was difficult sometimes, the times when I worried about going beforehand were sometimes the most fun experiences that created wholesome memories. I always considered myself an extrovert; however, because I was raised to be essentially afraid and extremely cautious of the outside world, it was challenging to take advantage of this extroverted-ness. It just took a bit of courage to overcome these fears, and now I find myself learning how to say yes and build meaningful relationships with the people around me.

Yamileth Maldonado

UC Berkeley '25

Yamileth is a social welfare major and public policy minor, graduating in Spring of 2025. She loves scrolling endlessly through Pinterest and creating aesthetic boards. She also enjoys reading classics, romcoms, dystopians, and more!