It's been said you become most like the 5 people you spend the most time with. That idea is something that weighed heavily on my heart as I prepared to head off to college four years ago. The first week of school was stressful. There were so many feelings surrounding the first week of freshman year: loneliness, independence, fear and excitement.
As soon as my parents left my dorm room, I felt a sense of urgency. My parents were gone, now I needed to find friends. I had spent time getting to know my roommate before school started, so we set out to make friends together.
We both ended up with amazing friends from our first year at college. Some things we did to make friends worked, and some things didn't. Based on our steps and missteps, here are a few pieces of advice for making friends during your freshman year:
- Go to church. Attending a church on or near campus is a great way to meet people who share the same values as you. It's also fun to have a group of friends to go to church with every Sunday.
- Join a club. Get involved. That's the classic college advice for making friends. However, I want to amend this advice. It is easy to become over-involved. Instead, get involved by joining a club or two that you are passionate about and will actually attend. Clubs are a wonderful way to meet potential friends you share passions with.
- Leave your door open (when you're in your room, of course). This is how I met my best friend in college. She lived on my floor and always kept her door open when she was in her room. That way she could get to know people who stopped while they were walking by. I was one of those lucky people.
- Stay open and reserve judgement. My freshman year, I made the mistake of writing people off as friends before I had really given them a chance. Later in my college career, I discovered that some of the people I had written off were awesome and we became really good friends.
- Listen when people talk. In doing so, you can act as the kind of friend that you hope to have. This may seem obvious. But honestly, lending a listening ear is a simple way to show people you care.
- Never change your convictions for friends. It will be hard to be in a new place without knowing anybody. You may find yourself with a roommate who is polar opposite to you and your values. But you need to hold on to your values. Pray for God's help and strength in your convictions.
Finally, friends will come and go in college. The most you can do is trust that God's hand will guide you and He will provide you with what you need, including friends.