It’s hard to believe I was a freshman only a year ago! Every time I go back to the dining halls or the dorms, I’m reminded of all the good memories I had (even though EVK wasn’t as good back then). As much as I miss it, I’m happy to be living in my apartment with my old floormates. It kinda feels like graduating from freshman year. So what advice would I give to an incoming freshman?
Wherever you are living on campus, you will spend the first week surrounded by new and interesting people. These people will be on your dorm floor (or even your roommate), in your classes, or even randomly sitting next to you in Parkside Cafe. They are just everywhere. And the best part is that this is college: no one walks in already best friends with everyone. Everyone is just a little bit lost and eager to make friends too, and that’s okay.
My advice is to take advantage of this first week where no one really knows anyone. It was so easy for me to bond only with my floormates, especially since we had all arrived earlier together. It didn’t help that we saw each other all the time. I loved my 4th floor family, but I regret not expanding my friends circles outside of that during the first week and month. I got very caught up in our cool floor activities, and didn’t realize that I was missing out on meeting lots of other people outside of my 40 floormates. This first week is the perfect time to meet… everyone.
So how do you do that? As Steve and Natalie have mentioned, get involved. You can meet people who share similar interests, and they will be your true friends through the years. My first semester, I joined the Indian Dance team, WYSE, JEP and Ultimate Frisbee. It was a lot, but I found so many of my close friends today through these activities. Of course, I’m still friends with many of the people on my floor from last year, but sometimes you have to realize that the only thing you had in common was sharing a bathroom. Not a bad thing, but it happens!
Here’s the tl;dr for you lazy people: Make the most of that first week. Join a club that you would have never considered and meet people that you would have never met. Sit next to a random person in class and introduce yourself. Stay up late bonding with your roommate(s) because the first week will be a constant sleepover. Don’t be afraid to go to the dining hall alone, and sit with a few people who look vaguely familiar from the elevators, but whom you’ve never talked to. Lose your voice from talking to so many people for so long and at odd hours of the night. Bond with your floor, but don’t forget that there is the whole other campus filled with cool people who make great best friends. Because, though you do come to college to learn about thermodynamics and medical sociology, your learning outside of the classroom is greatly influenced by your friends. Make sure to surround yourself with a diverse group who will give you different opinions or views on ideas that you might not critically think about.