High School to College—Friendships

Overwhelming feelings of nervousness and confusion hit the night before college move-in day. Your mind bombards you with thoughts of “Is this the path for me?” “When will I go home?” “What if I don’t like my roommate…or worse: What if I create a bond stronger with her than with my friends from home?” The night before leaving for Winona was quite restless. I couldn’t stop trying to find answers to all my questions! One of my outlets to release this useless energy was my friends. Our “Besties for the Resties *heart emoji*” group message had constant notifications. Here’s my advice to those entering a world of change.

1.     Make time.

Classes, homework, clubs, and everything in between can stuff your schedule. Go out of your way to text or call some friends. This lets them know how important they are to you and how much you miss them. My favorite time to talk with my besties is when walking across campus. We meet up in House Party after stating in the chat, “Who wants to House Party?” All six of us can talk and see those faces we so deeply wish weren’t just on a screen. A quick five-minute giggle-sesh or catch-up will keep bonds tight.

2.     Choose the right words.

When talking to your bffs, don’t just complain about how busy you are. Instead, passionately tell them how involved you are and how quickly you’re adjusting. Complaining about how annoying your hall-mates are every night or that your professor has coffee breath is useless chatter. Yeah, these things are true, but there’s always something purposeful you can find to share. For example: I sat by a cute boy in class; I studied outside and listened to my favorite music; the beds here are actually comfortable. Don’t forget to verbally remind your friends how much you love them!

3.     Ask and listen.

This works best when you all have time to just lay in bed and babble on. Ask your friends how their day, week, month has been. Willingly listen to all that they’re explaining. Dig deeper into their true feelings about their overwhelming experiences. Try not to respond with a relatable situation you were in; keep the focus on them. Acknowledge where they’re coming from with these raw emotions and use words of encouragement and understanding to assure them that you’re fully engaged in what they have to say.

After finishing two semesters at Winona State, I feel I have the credibility to advise others on their first semester away from familiar faces. The first two weeks in the dorms were rough, not gonna lie! Maintaining frequent conversation with friends from back home will make things easier. You will slowly become comfortable meeting new people and making more friends. No doubt, you will make everlasting friendships in college. These people won’t replace anyone, but you can soon call college “home” because of them.