College Cliques: What They Mean And How to Deal

College Cliques: What They Mean And How to Deal

Time to find your people.

Let’s face it: cliques suck. Most people have probably experienced the negative side of them at some point in their lives—middle school drama, the high school ‘popular’ group, so on and so forth. Being excluded is arguably one of the hardest things adolescents have to deal with. We were all so ready to leave that behind upon graduation: I don’t know about you, but I was always told that ‘popular’ kids don’t exist in college. That may be true, but that doesn’t mean that cliques disappear altogether.

They just change.

Instead of being outed from the lunch table or missing the invite to a sleepover, you might lose a friend when they get accepted to a program that you get cut from or join an activity that doesn’t interest you. Your circle of friends might find out they have more in common with each other than with you. Friendships won’t typically end abruptly, but some of them will fade slowly until you realize you’re on the outs.

The fact of the matter is that friendship in college is voluntary. Because schedules are largely individualized, who you spend time with is up to you. The flip side of that, however, is that people don’t have to spend time with you if they don’t want to.

And that can sting. No one likes to feel like a second choice.

There is a bright side to this, however: college is the ideal setting for forming authentic friendships. It is much easier to figure out who your real friends are because they are the same people that will go out of their way to be around you. Your circle of friends is going to change over these 4 years. Chances are that the people you hang out with first semester of your freshman year are not going to be your best friends come graduation—and that’s okay.

You don’t have to hate the people you drifted from; remember that they are likely going through the same thing as you. They are finding ‘their people’ just as you are.

Use these years to really get to know yourself: join the things you want to join, do the things you want to do, and spend time around people that make you happy. The relationships that are born from these things are worth so much more than superficial ones or friendships of convenience.

Time to find your clique!

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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Finding Your Niche In College Starts With Finding You

Attempting to be someone you are not for the sake of having company only hurts you in the long run.


Transitioning to college is hard enough, but trying to find a place where you feel "at home" can make this time even more stressful. Here are some tips on how to find that place/group of people that make you feel like sunshine.

I have always felt a little out of place wherever I went, but it wasn't until college that I realized that this feeling was so special and more people should capitalize on their differences rather than conforming to a certain mold. Transitioning to college and finding your place among so many people can be very overwhelming. The added stress of attempting to be someone you aren't for the sake of having company adds a whole other layer to this problem. The easiest thing for me to do in any situation like this is trying to make the setting a little smaller. One of the most obvious ways to do this on a college campus is by getting involved!

It is inevitable that within the first few weeks of the semester at any college, there will be an organization fair. This is a chance to scope out all that your school has to offer! Chances are there will be some type of group or club that lines up with your interests. Most college campuses have extracurricular opportunities ranging from social sororities and fraternities, professional ones, intermural sports, vocal groups, and so many more. You are more than likely going to find some type of organization that you can call home if you seek them out. Joining an organization is such an easy way to interact with people with similar interests. An interest can bring two completely different people together and create some beautiful friendships. It is situations like this where it is important to be your authentic self and mingle with those you share something with.

That being said, finding your place in college isn't always about being involved. Getting involved on campus is just one of the simplest ways to start. There are so many other opportunities on campus to meet people whether it be among others in your residence hall, people in your classes, or just people you find yourself stumbling upon! Finding people to spend your time with is easy; however, you should make it a point to surround yourself with people who bring you up.

Once you have a set group of people that you find yourself spending time with, it is important to pay attention to the way you feel when you're around them. If you find yourself feeling bad about yourself or get the impression that you need to change something in order to "fit in," chances are the people you're around are not the best for you or your self-esteem. It is important to surround yourself with people who allow you to feel comfortable in your own skin. That being said, you also want people who encourage you to make good decisions and help you reach your goals. People who encourage toxic behavior in your life might be fun in the short term, but in the grand scheme of things, you need to be surrounded by people with your best interest in mind. Essentially, surrounding yourself with people who influence you to be your best self is one of the best decisions you can make short and long term.

The key to all of this is being conscious of your own feelings and needs. Pay attention to who reaches out to you to hang out. Notice the ones who pay attention to you as you speak when it feels like no one is listening. More than anything, be conscious of who you're with and where you're at when you experience moments of pure happiness. Life is too short to waste your precious time on people who don't build you up. Wouldn't you rather spend your time with more moments of pure joy than self-hate? Start living for you!

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