College is full of fresh starts. A brand new GPA, an unfamiliar campus for you to explore, and of course, a completely different social life. You’re no longer surrounded by the same people you’ve known since you were a five-year-old; instead, you have the chance to interact with hundreds, thousands, of people who come from various backgrounds and corners of the country. This is your chance to find that lifelong BFF, at least that’s what the movies say.
I have been in college for three months now, and it isn’t quite what I expected, at least socially.
I came into college excited to be able to meet people who I never would have interacted with otherwise, yet nervous, because I’m an introvert and friendships aren’t the easiest thing for me to come by. Being an introvert can suck sometimes. Social interactions can be exhausting for me, and I know that I have to have time to myself.
I had been warned, coming into college, that the people I would become friends with during orientation week wouldn’t be the ones that would stick. These friendships were going to be merely of convenience, and wouldn’t be strong enough to last. With this thought in my head, I was reserved during my orientation week, wary of my fellow overeager freshmen. In retrospect, there are some students from my orientation group who I never spoke to again, but I still regret this attitude—some of the people from my orientation group are still in my life, and they’re really awesome people. I just wish I had given them more of a chance when I had first met them.
My roommate has, indeed, found her lifelong BFF. Not in me, (the movies lie), but with another girl on our floor. The two are inseparable, and have this really awesome connection that I’m quite envious of. It’s actually quite unsettling to see people who easily found someone they were comfortable with. I’m not the only who feels this way-many of the girls in my dorm have expressed the same sentiment to me. It’s surprising, yet a relief, to know that I’m not alone. It doesn’t matter if you’re an introvert or an extrovert—finding your social niche can be a challenge. It’s difficult being in a new place, and it makes for a harder adjustment period when you don’t feel socially “accepted” yet.
Despite my attempt to avoid friendships of convenience, I realized that many of the friendships that I made in the first few weeks weren’t necessarily with people who I ever would have hung out with back in high school. It’s really easy to become friends with people in your dorm, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re the people who you’re comfortable with, who have similar interests and values, who you can be yourself around.
However, I’m not super concerned about my social life at the present– I have friends who I really like, and can get along with. Are they people who I feel completely comfortable around? No, at least not yet. But my best friends in high school were people who were in my life for years, and it was naïve of me to believe that I would find people who I would instantly click with.
I made a choice to attend a school away from home, a school where I’d have to live on campus, because I knew that I needed an extra push to socialize. It’s been a little difficult adjusting, but I’m hopeful for the future. Friendships take time. I’m going to continue meeting awesome people over the coming months. And who knows, maybe by the end of the year the people I hang out with now will be the people I consider my best friends.
But to my fellow collegiates, high schoolers, introverts, you are not alone.