Monday, 1 September 2014

College Series #2: Friendships

People say that university is the time to make lifelong friends. I don't know how true that is because I'm not yet out of university. What I do know is that the first steps in making those friends can be quite difficult. Coming from a background where my classmates from primary school were the same as in secondary school, I had never been in a situation where I was forced to make friends. So, the transition into a large university where I knew nobody was daunting and stressful. I'm going to be sharing a few things that I wish I had known going into uni.

Make the most of Orientation/Freshers week. It's an equal playing field for everyone. People don't know each other and are feeling just as nervous as you. Try to engage in conversation with as many people as you can. Sign up for clubs and societies where you'll meet people who have the same interests as you. Three conversation starters usually are: "What's your name? What course are you studying? Where are you from?" The flow of the conversation will determine the kind of relationship you develop with that person - you may end up never speaking to that person again or you may very well become best friends.

Be yourself and be comfortable in who you are. Don't try to force yourself to be a certain personality. Why? It's going to be darn well difficult to keep up appearances for your remaining college years. Don't compromise yourself and your standards to fit in with others. It's not worth it - something I learned the hard way.

Smile! :) Smiling creates an inviting and welcoming aura about you that people will want to be your friend. When speaking with people, don't forget to listen. People appreciate being made feel important. Nod your head along with the conversation if you have to - your body language speaks volumes!

Remember, finding  people you click with generally takes some time. Be patient - those lifelong friends aren't made within a week. It took me most of my first year to meet people that I would hang with most of the time.

Finally, choose your friends wisely! We all need people who we can hang out with, have a laugh with and share the college struggle with. Good friends are a support system away from home. A popular saying goes, "show me your friends and I'll tell you who you are." Experts say we become an average of the top five people closest to us. Friends influence us - for good or for bad - so choose wisely!

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