Welcome to Ask The Argus: a new column in the Features section! Each week, we bring you the hottest advice from your wonderful, trusty, seasoned editors. Are you having trouble making friends? Is your relationship falling apart? Regretting your choice of major? Struggling with time management? Don’t fret: we’ve been there, and are here to help.
I’m a first year and I feel like everyone is making friends and finding their people. I’ve met some people I could see myself being close with, but it’s so hard to make plans with them without seeming needy or clingy. How does everyone else have such close friends and how can I form those friendships?
First, you are not alone! We know that it feels that way and that it’s a cliché, but there are literally hundreds of people who are in the same situation. And it’s not just first years. College can be super lonely. It’s very rare for friend groups made during orientation to stick (unless that’s you, in which case, go off). There are things that you should know that might ease your mind.
A lot of people come into college desperate to make friends quickly, only to realize in their second or third semester that the people they originally clicked with aren’t the friends they want in the long run. That’s a totally fine and normal process to go through. But there’s also something to be said for taking your time in getting to know people. We promise that all the groups of friends that you see wandering around Usdan and Fountain together aren’t actually as close as they seem and will probably break apart over time. Remember that it’s only been a couple of weeks!
Definitely don’t be afraid to join clubs or talk to other students in your class to meet people (Join The Argus!). Also, it’s unlikely that people will find you needy or clingy if you ask them to hang out with you. If you want to be friends with someone, you have to make the effort! It may seem like some friendships just naturally form, but in reality, they all start out a bit awkward. It’s kind of like dating; you might have a few friendship dates that don’t go well, but eventually, things will click with someone. We guarantee it.
Last year was my first year at Wes, and it was obviously super socially isolating, but I got pretty comfortable with being alone all the time. Now that socializing is more accessible and there are more in-person activities, I feel like I should be happy but instead, I’m anxious all the time!
A lot of people are in the same boat. It must’ve been hard adjusting to your first year with so many restrictions on campus. And it’s okay to spend time alone! A lot of people talk about the college experience, but that experience is different for everyone. Don’t think that because you aren’t on the same level as some of your peers, you’re missing out. You can get just as fulfilling a college experience doing crosswords and knitting in your room as you can if you go to every party and have a million friends, and if going to Usdan lunch at peak hours is a generally anxiety-inducing and unpleasant experience, there’s no reason to force it.
When socializing, try making a few really good friends rather than a bunch of friends you aren’t super close with individually. Sometimes, being in big groups can feel even more isolating than being alone, especially because we’ve all become so accustomed to being alone or with our family units. Ask someone in your class to get a meal and actually schedule a time to do it. If you’re too afraid, ask them if they want to do the homework or study for a test together. That way you can get to know them in a less overt “I want to be your friend” type of way.
Also, there are plenty of mental health resources on campus and beyond. If you feel like your anxiety is interfering with your ability to function well, try making an appointment with CAPS, or if you’re able, meet with an outside therapist. Obviously, there’s no perfect solution, but a professional can give you specific strategies to nip anxiety in the bud. It’s a crazy world out there, and things still aren’t quite normal. So keep your head up and know that, in the words of “High School Musical,” we’re all in this together.
To submit a question to Ask The Argus, click here.