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“I have no friends”: The struggle of making college friends at university

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UPR chapter.

“I have no friends” was a thought that often came across my mind during my second year of university. After such a long time spent in lockdown, taking in-person classes opened my eyes to a hard truth:  the COVID-19 pandemic messed up my social skills. So many months of virtual communication led me to realize that I forgot how to verbally and physically interact with people ー just picture a baby giraffe learning how to walk. Don’t get me wrong, I never considered myself an extrovert, but I usually pushed myself to talk to people and, in the end, my socializing efforts paid off. 

Considering the fact that I had just switched majors, last semester was a real struggle for me ー I was taking a few Political Science courses, which felt like entering unknown territory. I found the whole process very intimidating (I still kinda do) because transitioning into this new field of study made me feel out of place. I think I have big gaps in knowledge concerning politics, and to know so little about a brand-new major can feel both discouraging and embarrassing ー even more so when you’re in a room full of people that seem to have a comment about everything the professors say. Moreover, I was scared to interact with any of my fellow classmates. For some reason, I thought I would be made fun of due to my lack of knowledge. 

I spent most of my time alone, which I thought was incredibly sorrowful. Now, I actually enjoy having time for myself where I can go to the library and get work done or simply read for fun. Being by myself made me appreciate spending time alone by default. I don’t know if you’re like me, but I’m constantly consuming media during moments of peaceful aloneness. I listen to music when showering and driving, and I watch videos or a series while doing everyday tasks, such as cooking, folding laundry or doing the dishes. Needless to say, I seldom sit in silence with my thoughts. However, from time to time I’ll catch myself losing my train of thought or just dissociating from the activity I’m doing at that given moment. For me, thinking equals worrying, and evidently, that’s not a fun thing to do. I worry about what’s happening, what happened, and what will happen. I’m sure you have felt the same and wish to have an on-and-off switch for your brain because overthinking can be such a mood killer. Although media consumption can prove to be a quick fix for some, I recommend you seek out new friendships when struggling with social anxiety or overthinking.

 When I’m interacting with a potential friend for the first time, I always keep in mind that university friendships are very different from high school ones. You won’t hang out with them all the time, and that’s just something you need to get used to. Despite how intimidating it may seem, learning to be by oneself is both necessary and fruitful. After all, you are the only person who will always be there to provide you with love and support. That being said, it’s also important to take that first step and go up to someone and break the conversational ice.

Firstly, make an effort to talk to your classmates even if it’s to ask a silly question. Make sure you’re trying because they might feel intimidated as well. If they don’t reciprocate, it might mean they aren’t the ones to talk to. But whatever you do, don’t give up. Meeting people and making friendships can often feel like a trial and error process, but remember that campuses are full of people with all kinds of interests, so you’ll indeed find someone you have something in common with. 

If you feel discouraged and scared about making friends, that’s okay. I do, too. To this day, I’ve talked to a few people, and maybe two of them might consider me their friend. Although we don’t interact on a daily basis, I’m proud of our friendship and of myself for taking the initiative. Never lose sight of the fact that everybody in university is finding their way through life and their place in it, so don’t feel disappointed.  

Alejandra Negrón Rodríguez is a writer and Events Director at Her Campus at UPR. She manages all chapter events, prioritizing in coordinating and organizing for a range of successful and fun activities. She mostly writes culture and entertainment articles, but as an avid reader, her favorite one’s are book reviews. She is a senior at the University of Puerto Rico, majoring in Political Science with a minor in French. At Her Campus, writing became a muse for her, because she can transform her interests into works for others to enjoy. When she’s not writing, Alejandra reads books or buys them (ask her overwhelming mountain of unread books). Alejandra also loves learning new languages, crocheting, and spending time with her friends.