College can be an exciting and bright place, where you’re able to take the classes that you’ve always dreamed of, live in cities you’ve never been to, and start to cultivate your adult self. Going off to school is at the foundation of so many coming-of-age movies, and it’s a wonder when we finally get here.
But life isn’t like the movies. Classes get difficult quickly. There’s more to balance, a lot more to adjust to, and the things we take for granted aren’t there, like our familiar school hallways when we’re lost on campus, the comfort and safety of our bedrooms, the sweet sights of our hometowns when we’re suddenly homesick.
But most of all, the people. Our family. Our friends.
Making friends in college can be daunting. If you’re introverted like me, you know that sometimes going to mixers, clubs, or parties can be challenging when all you want to do is lay down and binge watch The Office (trust me, I’ve been there...and back again). And all of a sudden, it seems like you’re alone while everyone else has these perfect groups of friends. Your high school best friends are meeting new people, and you feel like you’ve gone wrong.
I’m going to need you to take a breath. And keep these in mind when you’re feeling down.
1. There’s nothing wrong with you.
College is crazy. There’s so much going on that you have to juggle, and no one’s holding your hand to tell you what’s okay and what’s not. You’re on your own. It’s exhausting and sometimes all you want to do is fall asleep on a Friday night. And you’re 100% valid in doing so. Don’t feel bad for taking time to recharge.
2. Take it piece by piece.
Sometimes taking it day by day is too much. Focus on the things you love, and find organizations on campus that fit your passions. It’s easier to talk to people about the things you can’t shut up about.
Call it a stereotype, but college students drink a lot of coffee. A good way to get to know someone is to invite them to a cafe. Rather than exhaust yourself at a large event, you can have a smaller, more intimate conversation, and you can find your favorite cafe. It’s a win-win.
4. And remember, we’re all struggling with you.
It may look like everyone is put together, but we’re all preoccupied with putting our best foot forward and looking like we know what we’re doing. No one has it all figured out. Don’t feel ashamed or afraid to reach out.
I’m rooting for you.