I Have Trouble Making Friends

I Had No Friends When I First Came To College, And That's Ok

My first experience at Temple was one of doubt and insecurity, but then I learned.

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Here I am. Freshman in college, standing in the middle of a seemingly huge urban campus. Looking around, I see groups of people walking together, eating, hanging out on the grass. And I am alone.

I moved into a Temple residence hall less than a week ago, so this whole thing is still completely new to me. I barely knew anyone when I got here, not even my roommate. We had casual conversations online during the weeks leading up to move-in, but I didn't really "know" her. I didn't really know anyone.

My first full day on campus entailed Convocation, where we met with our specific colleges, ending with the whole freshman class gathered in the Liacouras Center for a ceremony of sorts. Given that my roommate and I are in different colleges, I was completely alone all day.

As I stood on the turf in the STAR Complex, I felt utterly isolated. Once again, small groups formed around me, everyone excitedly chattering as we waited to parade over to the larger meeting. I could not help but feel down, as I could not find even a single person who was also alone.

This followed up with eating lunch alone. I am a person who cannot approach people easily and, although I try, I rarely just walk up to someone and start a conversation. Because of this, I've just had a small group of friends my whole life. Now, being in a new place and not knowing anyone, I felt hopeless. I trekked back to my room and ruminated in my self-doubt and insecurity.

Later that night, coming back up from the dining hall, a group of girls who live on my floor were all in the elevator. When we realized we all lived together, we started talking and ended up standing in the hallway for almost an hour. While we spoke, the other girls brought up that they spent most of the day alone or only with their roommate. At that moment, I had a revelation.

I'm a freshman in a college with 25,000+ students. Its a completely new environment. Of course, I'm not going to know anyone at first! It was my first day and I was already getting down on myself for being a loner.

I had unrealistic expectations for myself and for others that led to inevitable disappointment. When another girl said, "I want classes to start, I have no friends!" I thought, "Wow, I'm not alone."

I don't know why it was so surprising to me, that these people also did not have any friends yet. It's pretty obvious that it takes a while to make friends and get accustomed to a new environment. I just had a vision of myself making friends so easily after I left my small high school, but that's just not the case, especially with me.

The other girls and I ended up bonding over the fact that we didn't have friends and just like that, we all had some friends! Even though Temple is a huge school, it's nice to have some familiar faces around while walking to class or going for a meal in the dining hall.

I've only been in college courses for two days, but I already learned an important lesson in patience. It's essential that you don't let your expectations affect how you experience something. Its also just as important to take things as they come and not let your mind tell you your hopeless if it doesn't work out right away.

I am now feeling confident as I walk the streets of Temple, knowing that there are friendly girls on my floor and there are definitely tons of people I have yet to meet and connect with!

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A Letter To My Freshman Dorm Room As I Pack Up My Things

Somehow a 15' x 12' room became a home.

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Dear Geary 411,

With your creaky beds, concrete walls, and mismatched tile floors, you are easily overlooked as just another room we were randomly assigned to— but you were different. Inside your old walls, I have made some of the best memories of my life that I will hold on to forever.

Thank you for welcoming my neighbors in with open arms who quickly became friends who didn't knock and walked in like you were their own.

I feel like an apology is needed.

We're sorry for blaring the music so loud while getting ready and acting like we can actually sing when, in reality, we know we can't. Sorry for the dance parties that got a bit out of control and ended with us standing on the desks. Sorry for the cases of the late-night giggles that came out of nowhere and just would not go away. Sorry for the homesick cries and the "I failed my test" cries and the "I'm dropping out" cries. We're sorry for hating you at first. All we saw was a tiny and insanely hot room, we had no idea what you would bring to us.

Thank you for providing me with memories of my first college friends and college experiences.

As I stand at the door looking at the bare room that I first walked into nine months ago I see so much more than just a room. I see lots and lots of dinners being eaten at the desks filled with stories of our days. I see three girls sitting on the floor laughing at God knows what. I see late night ice cream runs and dance battles. I see long nights of homework and much-needed naps. Most importantly, I look at the bed and see a girl who sat and watched her parents leave in August and was absolutely terrified, and as I lock you up for the last time today, I am so proud of who that terrified girl is now and how much she has grown.

Thank you for being a space where I could grow, where I was tested physically, mentally and emotionally and for being my home for a year.

Sincerely,

A girl who is sad to go

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What I Wish I Knew About Life After High School Before I Had To Live It

Life after high school isn't always what you expected it to be.

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So you're about to graduate high school and you think you have it all figured out. You and your best friends are going to stay close throughout college and you're going to take those long road trips in college to see each other. Think again.

Life after high school isn't always what you want it to be. You think you'll miss high school, you'll always be close with your high school besties, and you'll have all this free time in college. That's just not entirely true. I personally do not miss high school. I don't really talk to anyone I went to high school with on a regular basis, and I'm totally OK with that. I have friends in college that I believe will be my lifelong friends whereas my friends in high school didn't make an effort to keep in contact with me after high school.

I haven't had all the free time I've dreamed of in college, because I'm busy with school and meetings. When I'm not doing homework, I'm making sure the rest of my life is in order and all my stuff for school is in line. I'm not the crazy party girl that people think I am because of where I go to school. I'd rather sit in bed and watch Netflix than go out with my friends. I'm not a 4.0 student, but I work so hard in my classes just to make sure that I'm passing. I study a week before tests and still don't always make A's. And that's OK. It's not what I expected during my college years, but it's what's happening, and most of my friends are the same way.

Anne Marie Bonadio

Just know that life in college isn't all easy, breezy, and beautiful like Covergirl. It's hard and you will struggle whether it be in school or with your friends. College isn't always complete freedom. You'll be tied down with school and life and you won't have the free time that you always imagined. You won't always be best friends with your high school friends. You won't be taking those road trips because you won't be able to afford them, and if you're like me, your parents won't let you.

College won't be exactly what you dreamed it'll be, but it'll be some of the best years of your life.

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