One of the scariest parts about being in college is the pressure to “find your people.” Being in a new environment, far away from home, having friends that you feel comfortable with is crucial. In this chapter, it is easy to rush this process of making friends. The group chats start forming, the “squad” pics start being posted, and all of the sudden we have become “best friends” with a group of people that we barely know. Finding a quick group of friends can be a great way to make those first connections and always have people to make plans with, but the friend group mentality can be a very damaging mindset to have in college.
This is an extremely limiting attitude, especially when attending a school with thousands of students. Once you have a solid “clique”, it is very easy to get so caught up with those particular people, that you don’t feel the need to reach out to or spend time with other individuals. Also, others might feel the same way about you. They might see you from the outside as a person with a set group of friends, and be hesitant to make an effort with you, not knowing whether or not you would be interested in pursuing a new friendship. As this continues to happen, people subconsciously start to depend on their friend groups for every activity. We get it into our minds that we can’t go anywhere without being accompanied by a group of people. This not only limits us from engaging with new, different people, but also develops a lack of individuality and creativity within ourselves. We can’t fully grow as people by constantly relying on other people’s approval and company to live our lives. We need to live our lives based on what we want to do personally, and not let other people’s opinions stifle our actions and opinions. College is the time when we get to discover our true selves and experiment with new types of activities, interests, AND people. By committing to ONE set group of friends, you are losing so much of your potential to grow into your best possible self.
Different people open our minds up to different ideas, values, and mentalities, and we need this kind of diversity in order to flourish as individuals. Having a variety of friends is the best way to get the most out of your college experience. I’m not trying to say that you should avoid being a part of a single group of people and remove yourself from every single group chat you are in. In fact, it is very helpful to have a group of friends for CERTAIN things like going out at night. But sometimes not all of those people need to be the people you spend every hour of your day with. In this kind of environment, it is normal and sometimes better to have separate friends to study with, vent to, go on adventures with, get Bruff with, join clubs with, and so much more. Having solid interactions with different individuals from separate social circles adds a necessary element of balance to your weekly routine and keeps life way more interesting.
At a school where it seems like friend groups dominate the social scene, try and take a step back and branch out from this limiting path. Maximize your college experience by being open to new people. Spend time with who YOU want to spend time with and don’t let a group of people restrict your personal individuality and creativity. Let yourself grow and flourish with the people who allow you to do your best!