When I moved into Rich Hall just three short summers ago, I had no idea what to expect. I was eager to make new friends, meet interesting people and feel at home in a new city. While in my head I thought everything would work out as planned, freshman year certainly wasn’t a walk in the park, and making friends took time. I came from a small, private high school where everyone knew one another, so coming into a school filled with thousands of new people was refreshing but also daunting. I had a hard time during my first few weeks, but I wanted to share what I learned about making new friends in this crazy new place.
1. Be Yourself. I know it sounds cliché, but the worst thing you can do is pretend to be a person you’re not. It’s easy to come into college feeling like you can be whoever you want because it’s a fresh start, but changing your personality is the worst thing you can do. You might make friends at first if you do so, but you’ll quickly come to realize they aren’t the right people for you. Don’t be ashamed of who you are, what you like to do or what your past experiences are. The best way to make friends who will last a lifetime is to just stay true to you.
2. Be Communicative. During your first few weeks at school you’ll notice that you spend a lot more time with people around you than you do at home. In high school, you came home after a long, hard day and you could go to your room to be alone or talk to your parents. However, once you get to college, it’s rare you have a moment alone, especially during your first few weeks in the dorms. Whether you’re getting to know your roommate, the people on your floor or people in your classes, be sure to communicate openly with them. Tell them what you like and don’t like, what your hobbies are, who your friends from home are and what your high school experience was like. The more communicative you are, the better you’ll get to know someone and the faster you’ll make friends.
3. Be Open-Minded. The best thing you can do is be accepting of everyone else. Living in a city, you’ll meet many types of people from all different places and backgrounds. As you’ll want people to be accepting of who you are, do the same for others. While it might be hard because you’re used to your home friends and certain types of people, you never know who you’ll meet and if they end up being your best friend.
4. Be Present. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed during your first few weeks and resort to shutting your door. You might want to spend time calling the people you know from home or just laying in bed and watching Netflix. As hard as it may be, resist that urge and step out of your comfort zone. The more present you are, the faster you’ll meet people and begin to make friends. If you see a door open when you get back from class, just go in and introduce yourself. If you see a group of people hanging out in your common area, go over to them rather than just going back to your room. While it might feel uncomfortable, the more present and active you can be in meeting your new classmates, the better.
5. Put yourself out there. This goes along with being present. The more you introduce yourself and involve yourself with the people around you, the better an experience you’ll have. Just remember, everyone is in the same boat as you. Everyone is new to Boston University and new to the amazing experience of being in college. Just put yourself out there and you’ll be surprised at how many people will reciprocate that action.
I don’t know a freshman who comes to college without the intention of making lifelong friends. While it might be hard at first, don’t give up. Making new friends and feeling comfortable at such a big place takes time, but it’s beyond worth it once it happens.