Making friends in university

Jamie Mere, Graphics Editor

The first few weeks of university can feel daunting. Between the unpacking and somewhat awkward exchanges you may share with complete strangers, you have to drag yourself to class and manage your own lifestyle. 

This is what it’s all about; this is the big leagues. The best years of your life, they say. 

The allure of university life may wear off when reality strikes. But this isn’t to scare you: Of course, once you get settled, you realize how fortunate we all are to have this opportunity to connect with the many people around us — and you realize that time is on your side. Oh, the experiences you will share.  

One aspect of that changing lifestyle may be learning to live away from home and to make new friends. 

The most obvious starting place could be your roommates. Get to know them — their quirks, and their tendencies — and learn to embrace them. Understand that to build a meaningful friendship takes time and effort. You are who you repeatedly hang out with. So, who do you want to be? Who do you want to get to know?

Orientation Week will give you a chance to bond with people who may share similar interests. But there will also be those who are different than you. 

You are who you repeatedly hang out with. So, who do you want to be? Who do you want to get to know?

Take the time to get to know people, and you will realize we each have our stories. A word of caution: not everyone you meet will want to be your friend. And that’s okay. But, to understand friendship one needs to understand what they are looking for in a friend. 

For me, a friend is someone I can genuinely trust. I suggest you make a mental list of criteria you would look for in an ideal friend. Reflection may help when anxiety takes over. 

Be selective in who you choose to call your friend. Learn also how to distinguish between a friend and acquaintance. 

It’s not how many people you know, but rather the quality of the relationships you build that’s most valuable.  And it’s this environment that will present the opportunity to build these relationships – through unique clubs, study groups, and other social hangouts. 

Laurier is a special community. We are tight-knight and class sizes are small. However, it may take some time for you to feel comfortable with the lifestyle change. 

In the age of social media, friendship can be hazy. I remember feeling conflicted between remaining in touch with my old friends and building new friendships. 

It took me a while to find that delicate balance that worked for me; as I look back to my high school friend group, I note that I am now only in touch with a select handful of people. It takes commitment to stay in touch, and commitment is a two-way street. 

So, if you don’t see someone putting the time and effort to sustain a friendship, then their message should be clear… “I’m busy” is an overused excuse – we’re all busy. 

I also remember being anxious to make friends in my first year thinking that it would be my only opportunity. You may be thinking – as I was, back then —  hold on, how can I truly get to know someone in a few weeks. Surely it takes more time than that. 

Well yes, yes it does. But, again, you have four years, so trust the process. You don’t have to be extremely outgoing, and you don’t have to do something you aren’t comfortable with – if you feel like you don’t fit in with a certain group of people, trust your gut. 

Be selective in who you choose to call your friend. Learn also how to distinguish between a friend and acquaintance.

But if you truly listen to others, you can come to understand them. Stay away from anyone who consistently talks badly about others because no one likes a negative vibe. 

Later in my years at Laurier, I have come to understand how truly powerful genuine conversation is.  Join those clubs, and have those quality conversations. You will be fine.

In the words of William Shakespeare: “Love all, trust a few and do wrong to none.” The right people will naturally follow.

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