After the second semester, many people feel like they have their own little social group or nest to stay. Who would need anything more than close friends and that group chat with inside jokes and love? This especially rings true for many in a small school. Recently, I have been reflecting on my life. I realized I talk to the same people, see the same people, and hang out with the same people every day. I love them all dearly, but I wanted a change. I wanted to branch out... So I made a mental goal – make new connections with two people a day for a week. Two people might not seem like a lot, but if you look at your daily routine, how often have you actually had a full conversation with someone you hadn't talked to before? So that was my goal. Here's how it went:
I went to a little "gathering" in my friend's dorm that night. Let me say this first, I am not a very social person. Although I want to branch out more, I know I also love the comfort of talking to people who already know me. So this was a perfect beginning step for me. At my friend's room, there were two people I knew but never got on the right foot with. I was under the impression that they were very cliquey and didn't like accepting new people into their tight social group. I was unsure how the night would go due to that. Yet as the night when on and the music kept playing, I found myself laughing with both of them. Surprisingly, I learned that they were very fun. They love to dance and just joke around. It was very different than the image I thought of them. After leaving that night, I knew my goal was off to good start.
Lesson: Don't judge people only by what you hear.
Saturday is always a fun day in my school's town. It usually consists of going downtown and walking around. I love the atmosphere of downtown – the scenery and the people. I decided to go there with one of my friends in the beginning of the afternoon. She brought along one of her friends I had only known from an event I participated in. I was excited to talk to her and hang out. Luckily, she was open to talking to me. As the day went on, we met up with my friend's other friend. I was nervous about this one. He's older and is popularly known for his football skills. By my surprise, he wasn't what I believe is the "typical college sports boy", but rather, a nice and respectful college boy. My friend and I spent the day downtown laughing and chatting with her friends. I felt happy, meeting and learning new things about people.
Lesson: Don't judge a book by its cover.
My friend had a few people come visit that day. She had already spent the night in my room, so I felt less inclined to meet them, but I'm really glad I did. The two girls were very sweet and nice. They laughed a lot with my friend which gave me a new insight into one of my closer friends. I love talking to different people, seeing different perspectives, and this was definitely the chance to do so. They might not have been from my school, but in a way that was better. All of us hung out in my room, talking and discussing memories we had with my friend. They were very nice girls and I liked learning about how different schools were run.
Lesson: Your friends now can be the best help to meeting new people.
I had heard about a knitting circle at my school from one of my friends. She was wondering if I wanted to go with her and I answered very excitedly, yes. I had a hard day and I was very stressed out. Knitting always calmed me down in the past so hopefully, it would work this time too. When we got there were only a few people sitting on couches. We asked if this was the knitting circle and they, very happily yet very surprised, responded with yes. We sat down on the couches with them and began having interesting conversations. We played two truths and one lie as we sat in a circle knitting. It turned out that one of the two girls in the circle is a student in my major. We began talking and she advised me about the upcoming classes and professors. Sitting there I felt content. I didn't feel judged at all. It made me feel confident about where I go to school.
Lesson: Having common interests always helps when you first meet people.
Recently, I have been struggling with planning the next year, my sophomore year. It is probably one of the most stressful things I have yet to experience in college. I've been looking at my group of friends for guidance, but I decided to talk to new people to gain a new perspective. I am very weary of opening up to new people, so this took hardcore guts. I texted my RA, who I probably have only said "hi" to before. I asked if she had time to talk. She set aside some time and just talking to someone who understood the process eased my stress. If they can survive the process of picking classes semester after semester and finding a room year after year, I am pretty sure it would work out for me. Although at the end of the day I realized I had only branched out to one new person, I knew that talking to someone who was new had opened a door to new possibilities and the possibilities were bright.
Lesson: Take the chance to open up to new people.
Going about daily routines, you don't easily see the people you haven't before. At least, that's the case for me. I was stopped when going to class by one of the girls who was always very friendly. She wanted to talk about our class and the work for it, but soon the conversation changed into other things. I was happy to talk about life with her. She was older and it helped that she knew a thing or two about college. I finally made it to class after our conversation, on time. Unfortunately, again, I didn't talk to another new person. Maybe it was because I was so focused on my routine. I knew taking a step back from my routine was most definitely something I needed to do more often.
Lesson: If you're looking for new friends, try and look around a few of your classes.
It is the day right before spring break, which of course means tests. I had spent all of Wednesday night studying. I had even slept past my alarm to pack on Thursday morning. Throughout my two classes before my test, I was completely exhausted. So exhausted I had fallen asleep in my favorite class - Creative Writing. Luckily a girl next to me, who always was super nice to me, woke me up. With a small, wise smile it brought me comfort to know someone was looking out for me. I talked to her after class to thank her and was happy to hear how she was doing in class with her creative writing poems. It was very interesting that someone I didn't know was willing to help me not get caught sleeping in class. After that class I had my test, surprisingly when I was entering the room one my new connections from the knitting circle recognized me and said "hi." A simple hi from a new friend, made me gain confidence, enough confidence to go over to the group where all my peers were studying and sit with them. Confidence is the key to making new friends.
Lesson: New people can easily find a way to surprise you.
Even if you have a tightly-knit friend group, meeting people really is a possibility in the second semester. So with the last month of freshman year approaching, try and branch out. You never know who you'll meet and what conversations and new perspectives it will bring.
Lead Image Credit: Columbia Pictures