Ask Agnes is a new advice column from Her Campus UCF! Email UCF@hercampus.com with any burning questions about school, love, or relationships for a chance to be featured!
This week’s question comes to us from a newly enrolled UCF student, who asks:
“Dear Agnes: How could I make new friends when I’m from out of state and I literally know nobody here at UCF?”
This is an excellent question to start off the year with, as I know we have recently gone from a population of 60,000 students to over 66,000 students within the last year. It has also been reported that, of the most recently acclaimed student population, there are a total of 5,249 students who are currently attending UCF as students from out-of-state. In other words, we certainly have quite a large number of new students who are in the exact same boat in wondering how they can make new friends at such a big and prosperous place as UCF! However, what might make you feel even more at ease with this situation would be to know that I experienced the exact same problem as a transfer student from Stetson University in the fall of 2016! Despite the fact that I was a junior in standing who was already very familiar with the college experience, transferring from such a small, secluded university with a very limited number of students and amenities meant that I was going to be undergoing several drastic changes as a young adult.
Knowing this, I made sure to take the proper steps to ensure that I would not feel inferior once I got to UCF within just 4 months after being accepted. I first used my current aspirations and passions as a guide to navigate through Knight Connect (https://ucf.campuslabs.com/engage/organizations), where I managed to find an extensive list of UCF organizations that pertained to my interests and skills. After reaching out to multiple organizations (3 of which I am now currently affiliated with), I arrived on campus confident in my ability to make friends within a very short period of time. Of course, I soon realized that doing so wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I remember calling my mom while waiting for the bus at UCF’s Transit Center with tears in my eyes because of the fact that I felt like such an outsider who didn’t know the ins and outs of her campus, especially when it came to interacting and developing sincere friendships with the other students around me.
To this day, however, I personally wish that I would have taken my father’s advice a LOT sooner: to talk to and get to know as many people as I could in all of my classes. Start off by acquainting yourself with the one person nearest to you, then switching your seat every once in a while as soon as you feel like you’ve gotten to know everyone within the vicinity of that seat. Don’t be afraid to show those students and everyone else the true, genuine you, as this is what will compel them to really want to interact with and get to know you more! A final set of tips that I have for you is to focus the majority of your attention on excelling in your classes while also making sure to participate in discussions with your classmates and professors on a regular basis. As it is probably already very obvious, many students will often flock to those who appear to have a good head on their shoulders with the hopes that they will be able to look to them for advice regarding assignment due dates and requirements, as well as the possibility of getting to study with them as a group. Odds are, some of those students will soon become some of your closest friends!
Right now, I know it seems as though you’re a little fish inside of a big pond. However, what’s important to remember is that there are also 5,249 more little fish who are in that exact same pond with you. It may take time to get adjusted to the new temperature, but at least you can honestly say that you’ve now come 4 gigantic strokes closer to making that pond one of your favorite places to swim.