By Sierra Aceto

There’s an expectation that the people you meet in college will be your friends for life. While this is true for many, not everyone you meet in your first week, month, or even year at school have to be those people.

Building lasting friendships can take time, so don’t feel rushed to find or stay in a particular group. College will expose you to countless different kinds of people, some of who may not even go to the same school you’re attending.

Part of the beauty of going to school in Boston is that not only do you have thousands of students on campus, but there are also hundreds of thousands of students from other schools that you could meet just by wandering around the city.

So while you may be tempted to stick with the other students who live on your floor, or the group you went out with your first weekend or the new friends you met in your first class, don’t be afraid to keep meeting new people.

Now, I’m not saying you should just ditch the first people you meet after a few weeks.  Sometimes you just click and that’s a beautiful thing. But, sometimes it takes some time to find those people that become your people, your ride-or-dies, your squad.

What I encourage you to consider is that college is a pivotal time for most people. You’re bound to go through some serious changes that can alter who you thought you were.

Let these changes happen, they’ll help you grow.  But, they also might challenge the kind of life you want to live and the kinds of people you want to associate with. Let it happen. Seriously.  Sometimes we hold on to toxic energy without even realizing it, all because we’re afraid to let go of anything that is familiar and comfortable. College is a new start — and I’m telling you it’s time — so let it go.

You’re allowed to change your mind. Seek to surround yourself with people who match your energy and bring you happiness. This isn’t high school anymore, you’re not stuck.

You don’t have to conform to any one expectation of what “college life” is supposed to be. Try out new perspectives, new clothes, new hobbies or new classes. The freedom of being here is that you can make it whatever you want it to be.

So don’t worry about finding your “squad.”  Fill your time with the things that you love, whether it be sports, clubs, hobbies, volunteering or what-have-you. You’d be surprised how many lasting friendships can grow from just a single common interest.

Keep in mind that you still have so much life to live even after you’re done with school — and so many more friendships to form into lifelong bonds.