Coming into college I felt that I wouldn't be able adjust to college life, make friends, and at least enjoy myself a little like every one else does. I wasn't very good with other people. I had a lot of social anxiety in high school so meeting new people and forming new friendships was difficult for me. I made no friends in high school and had a miserable time. The last thing I wanted was for college to be a repeat of high school but coming in I felt that this would be inevitable considering the kind of person I have been leading up to college.
For as long as I could remember I haven't always been such a great friend. I was pretty mean to my friends from elementary and middle school. It wasn't just me though, they could be mean to me and to each other as well. Foolish arguments and making fun or each other was very common in our friendship circle. What made me a bad friend was that I often instigated many of these arguments and turned my friends against each other because I enjoyed the turmoil and how ridiculous we all were.
My friends and I were also very immature so most of the things we did together no one else would understand. We often embarrassed ourselves in public or almost got ourselves in deep trouble. One time we almost got kicked out of Gamestop for playing football with the plush toys and another time we were running in the mall and hiding in stores.
Before high school I was very comfortable with this friend group. We were all alike in our immaturity, silliness, being mean to each other, being awkward, and our arguing. With this group I was comfortable being myself and had no limits or filter in my words or actions. But the problem was that I didn't know how to make new friends because I was satisfied with only this group for so long. I didn't think making new friends would be possible since I knew what my friends and I did wouldn't be acceptable to most other people.
Then high school came where I was split apart from my friend group and forced into a school with new people from all around NYC. This was the perfect opportunity to improve, change my ways, make new friends, and to stop hiding myself from the outside world. But I hated change because I never wanted to put in the effort to change. I would rather that everything stay the same. And the fact that I was being forced to change by going to a different high school than my caused me to be stubborn and outraged and I purposefully didn't make friends
High school was a period of decline rather than growth for me. I moved further into my shell where instead of talking to a small group of kids just like me, I talked to no one and spent most of my time alone. I avoided and feared people, to the point where I jumped out of my skin when someone said "hi" to me. I even got bullied because I made myself such an easy target by sitting alone at lunch everyday with my head down.
But when I went to college it was like I became a whole new person. It all started at orientation. I finally decided that avoiding everyone and only sticking to my friends from home was a very lonely way to live life. I didn't want college to be like high school so I actually did something about it. Usually when I want something to change I just complain about it and do nothing. But this time I changed by forcing myself to go up to groups of people and start conversation.
This was very hard and awkward for me. I don't really like small talk because I feel like it is very scripted, unoriginal, and repetitive because everyone asks the same questions. What's your name, where are you from, what's your major, what's your dorm? But I forced myself to do it because I knew there was no way that I would make friends if I didn't start with the awkward small talk first.
With each new group of people that I approached, talking to them became easier and easier. It started to become natural to me for once. I wasn't so afraid anymore. Things were changing. As orientation progressed so did my confidence when talking to my orientation group. My turns in those awkward ice breaker games became something to look forward to, not fear. I even told them a life story which we all really enjoyed.
Orientation was one of the best events of my life because I was finally able to talk to other people with confidence and open up without being afraid. I showed myself that college wasn't a death sentence like I previously thought it was and that I had the capability to thrive as a person amongst other people by making friends and opening up.
My progress towards becoming a more social, happy, and comfortable person didn't stop at orientation though. Every Wednesday at 9 I attend "get real". Basically about 10-20 freshmen from the dorm meet up in a room and talk amongst themselves. It is a perfect fit for me because I love to talk about myself and all of the misadventures I get myself into each week. Also their stories are pretty wild too. After a few weeks of meetings I have started to talk to a couple of the kids more and now we are really becoming a group of friends.
Last weekend I went on a retreat with level and I had a blast. But what I enjoyed the most of all of the activities we did was the meals. This is because I had the opportunity to get to know the people there and socialize. I really enjoyed the conversations I had there and I opened up even more.
I can't believe that just as recently as 3 months ago I used to be so shy and afraid of other people and socializing was a hassle for me. But through transitioning to college, realizing that I have lived an unhappy social life, and finally deciding that enough is enough, I started to love socializing and meeting new people. I still have my shyness but I don't let it take over my life anymore. I am finally starting to make new friends and be happier and I could finally say that I love college and that I love meeting new people.