Reminders for Students Struggling to Find Where They Belong

  1. 1. It's normal if you can't find where you belong right away.

    It's hard coming into college without fantasizing about the idea of finding your new best friends and joining clubs you love. College is a fresh start full of opportunities to meet new people. So, when you find yourself at the end of your first year, or even your second or third, without having found your "group," it can be hard to not feel lonely and depressed. However, while you may feel lonely, you're definitely not alone. There are lots of people who don't find their friend group until much later on in college, while others find that the friends they made their first year were not exactly right for them. 

  2. 2. Focus on yourself and what you like to do.

    I know this may sound a little counterintuitive but it's definitely important to remember. When you take time to do activities you enjoy and join clubs you genuinely find interesting, you're just naturally more likely to meet more people who are interested in the same things that you are. It can be tempting to want to join clubs or do certain things because it seems like that's what everyone else you know wants to do, but trust me when I say you'll be much happier and much more likely to make new friends just doing what you love.

  3. 3. You never know where you'll find your next best friend.

    The best friendships can form in the most unexpected places. Maybe it's the person sitting next to you in class or the person you just happened to be in a rideshare with. Either way, being open to meeting people and having genuine converstations anywhere can go a long way. Or at the very least, it can help kill some time while you're spending half an hour waiting in line at the financial aid office.

  4. 4. Don't be afraid to try something new.

    One of the great things about college is having the freedom to do whatever you want (at least within reason). College is a great time to pick up a new hobby or join an organization that's very different from what you'd normally join. The best part is that a lot of these clubs and orgs can be very low commitment, meaning there's no reason to be afraid of going in for a meeting or an event.

  5. 5. Other people are looking for friends too.

    I've personally never met anyone who's said they have enough friends. Sure, it can be intimidating approaching someone you find interesting or asking a new acquaintance if they want to hang out, but chances are that they might want to talk and hang out with you too. It can feel so easy sometimes to just wait around and let other people take initiative, but like the cliche saying goes, you miss all the shots you don't take. So go out and shoot your friend shots.

  6. 6. It's okay if you never find where you belong in college at all.

    As difficult as it can be to not have that sense of belonging, know that it's perfectly fine if you never find "your people" or that "perfect fit" in college. I think every college student knows that with classes, work, internships, etc., it can be hard to find that balance between responsibilities and social life. Four years is not a long time, and if you don't happen to find all your best friends in college, there's nothing wrong with that. There are so many more opportunities to find where you belong and to find people you click with, so don't be discouraged when you don't find your lifelong friends in college when you still have so much life left ahead of you.