A large part of the college experience is the social aspect. A student’s main focus should be her schoolwork, of course, but no one can deny the appeal of making friends (even if it’s only someone to sit with in the dining hall).
A speaker recently visited VSU and spoke with our marching band, and he highlighted a fact that I cannot stress enough: a band that plays together, stays together. This can be used in both musical and social terms.
It also overlaps with other areas; my color guard captain this year and my high school guard instructor always said, “A guard that counts together, spins together.” We all know that friends that play together, stay together, right? Why does this catchy (albeit, overused) saying flow between separate sectors of our lives?
It’s all about bonding. Shared experiences pull people together and allow them to relate to one another. Even if you never really get to know that person you once played Jenga with at that party a few weeks ago, you can associate them with the shared experience.
The speaker also touched on this subject in a hands-on way: he had the entire marching band squeeze onto the auditorium stage and form two circles, one inside the other. The person next to you in the opposing circle was now your partner for whichever game he had in store (and he had quite a few). The partners introduced themselves with the usual small talk (what’s your name, class, major, hometown, etc), and then the real game began.
Flying fingers. The details of the game are irrelevant; it’s the experience that matters. Do I remember my partner’s name? I wish I did. But I remember her face, and from now on when I see her at practice, I can say, “Oh! We played that game together when the speaker visited.”
Another example of bonding is one I can give from my freshman orientation session. I can’t remember a single thing about that day, except for the fact that I met a male nursing student. And you know what? He’s in the marching band with me. The fact that I could recognize him from relating him with his major goes with what the speaker was saying about making connections through conversation and shared experiences.
Today, I see my orientation buddy and have no problem speaking with him about whatever topics arise. The experience at orientation created a bridge that kept us connected throughout the football season, and he’s probably the first person I bonded with on campus.
If you’re a freshman struggling to connect with people and make those lifelong friends you’ve been told college creates, go out and experience college! Attend the mish-mash of events held at the beginning of each semester; hang out in your residence hall’s lobby; invite people over to watch a movie. Get involved. Find your niche, no matter how long it takes!
Who knows? Maybe that person you chat with in the Starbucks line is looking for a friend, too!