Written By: Elma Bjelevac, Freshman at Saint Louis University, Gateway Science Academy, Class of 2021
(This content has been edited for clarity and grammar)
College is a new place for everyone their first semester. You feel out of place because you are not surrounded by the people you had in high school. Sometimes, you’re also in a new state and have no clue about your surroundings. These factors can lead to feelings of being alone and isolated, but there are ways to overcome this. I have been in this position myself, and I can share what I did to make my college experience a little better.
Step one: Know that everyone is going through the same thing.
Whether you live in a dorm or a commuter, all of the students are placed in a new environment. Everyone new on campus is scared to make the first move and say hi. Being the person to take initiative and greet someone new is a fantastic way to make new friends. When I moved into my dorm, the only person I knew in the whole building was my roommate. We were both nervous to meet our neighbors—worried that they might not like us. After we moved in, we set our door open to let the other people on the floor know that we were welcoming. This worked out great for us because a lot of people were stopping in to say hi, which included our now best friends.
Step two: Attend as many events as you can.
Welcome week at any university is an excellent way to meet new people. These events are made for everyone, regardless of where you are living. At my university, we were grouped together by the floor so it gave me a chance to meet everyone and spend time with the people I would be living around for the next year. Not only were these events great ways to meet new people, but they also familiarized me with the campus and were super fun. Throughout the school year, I recommend going to as many events as possible with the people you met because it strengthens the bonds.
Step three: Make friends with people within your major.
I found it super helpful to have friends that have similar majors. We were able to have similarities in our interests and they make for great study buddies. In college, you spend more time studying with our friends than anything else. I have gone through many late nights with my friends studying for exams, which led to really fun times. Studying does not have to be a gruesome event; it can be fun if you have the right people with you.
College is a scary place; I have experienced it first-hand. However, you do not have to go through it alone. Once you find your people, college is much easier to accomplish. To meet the people, you are going to go through the next four years with, these steps will help you find them. The first thing, and probably the hardest, is to be the person to say hi. You never know if the person you are meeting will become your best friend!
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