It was move-in day freshman year and it hit me: I haven't had to make new friends since I was 14 years old. Did I even know how to make friends anymore? What should I say to people? Is it weird to tell them how scared I am? What if they're not scared at all? Why didn't I go to college in my hometown? All of these questions were answered by around 6:00 PM when a girl across the hall walked into my room and asked if I wanted to go to the dining hall with her. I'm lucky to say I'm still friends with that same girl, 3 years later.
If you didn't find a solid group of friends early on in high school, you were pretty much stuck. In college, you have about 20 chances a day to meet someone just as cool as you are. However, you'll only get those chances if you pause that episode of The Bachelor and embrace the opportunity to risk five minutes of awkwardness in exchange for a lifetime of friendship with the great people you could be meeting just outside your dorm room.
For those of us that didn't come to college with the people we graduated high school with, we get a completely clean slate. You don't want anyone to know that you threw up during your school play junior year? Go to college. You want to keep it a secret that you tripped and fell down 6 rows of bleachers at the championship game? Go to college. None of those stories have to come with you after you've tossed your cap senior year. But if you meet the right people in college, the ones that accept who are you today and who you were in high school, those stories are probably going to come out anyways. Don't worry about finding your people right away, if you can, let them find you. Getting that collegiate clean slate is a blessing, but it doesn't mean you have to stop being yourself to start making friends again.
The friends that I've made in college may not have known me as long as my friends from high school, but what we lack in time we've made up for with late nights, early mornings, and enough Buffalo Wild Wings to feed a small village. The time I've spent in college so far has been the most challenging and incredible three years of my life, and I have the people I've met at Oregon State to thank for that. The people you meet in college are going to change your life and then support you down the road when you change it yourself all over again. They're going to push you to confront your flaws and cheer you on for even the smallest of victories. If you're lucky, these friendships won't just be for four years, they'll be for life.