• Making Friends

College Friendships 101: The First Semester

Published: November 11, 2011 | Last Updated: June 9, 2022 By | 3 Replies Continue Reading

When making college friendships during the first semester, don’t expect too much too soon when making college friendships.

QUESTION

Hi Irene,

I’m a freshman at a large, public university this year and I’ve been in school for almost two months now. My dorm is very small—and sororities aren’t my thing—but I have joined many different clubs.

I’ve been very social and outgoing around people that I’ve met and I’m a very approachable person. However, I don’t feel like I’m forming the close relationships or finding a circle of friends that I had in high school.

I went to a very small K-12 school, so I knew most of my class for 6 or more years. Now, it feels like everyone already has their group of best friends or they have friends from high school.

I love meeting new people, but sometimes these people seem cold or aren’t talkative. Also, the friends I’ve clicked with, at least a little bit, have other activities or friends they can be with.

I know these friendships take time, but I feel isolated and I’m having anxiety that I won’t find good friends during the 4 years I’m in college. I feel like I’m the only person getting these feelings right now. Any advice or suggestions?

Signed, Alison

ANSWER

Hi Alison,

Moving from a small school where you knew everyone for many years to a large, anonymous university campus with thousands of students is a big change that requires a period of adjustment.

Although it may not appear that way, many other freshmen are likely to be in the same boat as you when it comes to making college friendships. Even those who came to college with their high school friends, or who immediately bonded with new people they met, will be shedding some of those friendships as they begin to change and are shaped by their college experiences.

Give yourself some time. Remember that this is only your first semester. You will have the opportunity to meet many different kinds of people – in your dorm, in classes, in the student union, in clubs, etc. Since you are social and outgoing, there is no reason for you to feel anxious about making friends. Your past is the best predictor of your
future.

With the combination of social and academic pressures, it’s normal to feel very stressed during the first year of college. Please write me at the end of the semester and tell me whether things are better for you. I suspect they will be!

Warm regards, Irene


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Comments (3)

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  1. Celeste says:

    Thank you for this because I felt this way too so this really helped me!

  2. Anonymous says:

    It took me until towards the end of my freshman year to make real friends… the kind I’m still in touch with 11 years later. I saw the same thing happen with both my sisters and have been a sounding board for several cousins as they’ve gone through the same transition.

    It’s very hard to go from a place where people get you – who you are, what matters to you, the little things that bring you delight each day – to a place full of strangers, nice though they may be. But true friendships take more than a semester – often where everyone is on their best behavior, which can obscure the fact that they’re not the right type of person for you – to build. They take months of late-night study groups, puzzling through econ assignments or literary classics, team sports games/matches, etc.

    Don’t let the slow pace of friendship building get you down. EVERYTHING is new and exciting first semester freshman year, and everyone has the opportunity to be the version of him/herself that they weren’t in high school and always wanted to be, and all of that needs to settle down a bit. And it will.

    And a word of advice… don’t let the lack of good friends hold you back from anything you want to do on campus. Go to an interesting lecture or performance, even if you can’t find anyone to go with you. I didn’t have the strength and self confidence to do this until I got back from a semester abroad, when most of my friends were still in far-flung places, and I wished I had figured it out earlier; I know I missed out on a lot, and opportunities like that aren’t so prevalent in the real world. Take advantage of everything that college has to offer because never again do you get to be in that wonderful place where your responsibilities are relatively few, your freedom is so great, and your whole purpose is to follow your passions and learn about your favorite academic subjects AND life. Best of luck to you!

  3. Anonymous says:

    is that because you are beautiful than others?

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