Everyone will tell you that one of the most important and exciting parts about going to college is making new friends and meeting new people with different backgrounds and interests. I wasn’t particularly nervous about making friends in college because I’m a very social person; throughout my childhood and in high school, I found myself in multiple social circles, connecting with all different types of people. Though I had a core group of friends, I didn’t let that one group define me. I went to sleep-away camp for eight summers and participated in plenty of clubs and after-school programs. In all of these new environments, I didn’t know a soul and had to make new friends. So I thought, if I could conquer my social life in my multiple circles at home and if everybody in college is eager and looking to make new friends, how hard could it be?  

Upon arriving at Tulane, the whole making friends thing was much harder than I anticipated. The first few days felt pretty cliquey; everyone latched on to the people that they had already known before coming to college. By the end of orientation, it seemed like everyone had a friend group. I had people to eat with and go out with, but I felt like I didn’t have real friends. In reality, no one else did either—it just seemed that way.  

I was content with the few friends that I’d made but felt a little behind because it seemed like everyone else had already found their people. I kind of assumed that once I got to school, everything would fall into place and I would have a million friends. But forming true friendships isn’t easy. You can be surrounded by people, yet still feel alone. Sometimes I still have to force myself and go out of my way to talk to new people.

I try to remember that we’re all going through the motions of college together; things take time and we have to be patient. It’s important to realize and acknowledge that other people are going through the exact same thing, regardless of the pictures they post with their “best friends” on social media.

Although college is often portrayed as the best time in our young adult lives, many people have a hard time adjusting. I have friends at other schools that seem like they’re having a blast, and it’s hard not to compare my experience to theirs. I keep telling myself that things will get better with time because true friendships don’t happen overnight.  

Every day I remind myself to be friendly to everyone; it can be something as simple as saying hi to the boy I sit next to in English class or having dinner with the girls who live next door. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and keep your options open to new experiences and people. Instead of letting one group define you, be inclusive; the more the merrier!  We all may feel stuck right now, but things will continue to shift and change for the better.  

COVER PHOTO: Medium