Making new friends is hard; I get it. Especially if you’re somewhat introverted or reserved like me. Coming from high school, where I had solid friendships, it was a new reality to walk onto a campus where I only knew a handful of people.
I was able to use my three years of college friend-making experience to offer some advice to my younger sister who is a college freshman. Like most freshmen, she was curious as to what college friendships would look like and how to grow authentic relationships while navigating a whole new world.
There was so much advice I wanted to offer her, and I was struggling to fit six semesters worth of social knowledge into one text message. This is what I had learned so far:
1. Patience. Lifelong friendships aren’t built in a day, or even a month. Give it time and trust that it’s a continual process. I didn’t meet some of my great friends during the first few months of college. You will continue to meet new people with each new class, activity or connection you make. I enjoy continuing to make friends each golf season, intramural team and group project I have.
2. I once heard someone make it their goal for the first semester of college to be willing to hang out with lots of people. I wish I would’ve heard this as an incoming freshman, because even though it would’ve taken me out of my comfort zone, who knows what friendships could’ve formed!
3. Remember that (most) everyone is in the same position as you. Don’t be afraid to sit by someone new at lunch or to invite someone to coffee, because chances are, they are hoping to make new friendships too!
I hope that this is helpful in calming some of those nerves that come along with a new chapter in life. But Northwestern is home to so many wonderful people that are eager to welcome you to campus, and before long, you’ll be calling it home.