Any Girl Scouts out there? If so, I hope you just finished that by saying, “One is silver and the other gold.” For those of you who aren’t familiar with this old Scout song, the gist is that it is important to maintain your old friendships, as well as your new ones, and I think that applies really well to the period before and during college. The last few months of senior year can be a hard time. Everyone is mentally checked-out and looking forward to college, and I remember feeling like I needed to start making friends at Tufts before I even set foot on campus. If you feel that way too, I’m here to tell you, don’t worry about it!
I applied Early Decision 1, and in late December, when I found out I was going to Tufts, I wanted to start meeting people right away. I was in a groupchat with a bunch of admitted students from the New York area, and they planned a meet-up in Manhattan. I had family plans that day, and I was devastated that I was missing my shot to make friends. I thought that I would somehow be at a disadvantage if I didn't make friends before coming to Tufts.
Then, I went to admitted students’ day, hoping to meet my future best friend there. My brother went to Tufts, and at his admitted students' day, he met his best friend and future roommate, so my expectations were high. However, while I was eating lunch with a girl, she decided to go to another school. Once again, I felt like I lost an opportunity to make friends before school started. I also attended a meet-up in Philly, where I talked with a few kids for a few hours, but I haven’t seen any of them on campus.
The point is, you don’t need to be worried about making friends already, or commenting on a million people’s Facebook introduction posts, promising to form a club together. If you do make friends that way, great, but if not, no worries! Once you get here, you will meet friends naturally. The two most important things, in my opinion, are to join clubs and to keep in touch with your friends from home.
First, I recommend joining clubs because that is how you will meet new people with similar interests and values. During the first few weeks of school, there will be plenty of General Interest Meetings (GIMs) that you can go to to get a feel for clubs before you have to commit. These are great ways to make new friends, and try out clubs you may have never considered before coming to Tufts, or whatever school you choose. I tried out the Ballroom Dance GIM, and had so much fun that I joined the team for a while.
Second, it is really nice to keep in touch with your friends from home (please insert me singing the Girl Scout song here). The beginning of college can be hard. It is exciting to meet so many new people, but it can sometimes feel like nobody really knows you that well, because all of your friendships are new. That’s natural and okay! Just think about it, you have probably known your friends from home for many years. I’ve been friends with most of my home friends since at least eighth grade! So it is going to be weird starting all over again with everyone at once.
Furthermore, it is nice to like being home too. Some of my friends here haven’t kept in good touch with their high school friends, and I know some of them wish they had made more of an effort after high school to keep in touch, so that they would enjoy being home on breaks more. Meanwhile, I am lucky to know that wherever I am this summer, I will enjoy spending time with the people around me, whether they are from Tufts or from home.
The bottom line is, you will make friends wherever you choose to go, even without meeting up before school starts or connecting on social media. Especially during Covid, it is so hard to meet people, but your time will come! Until it does, my Emma’s Advice is to enjoy your remaining time with your friends from home. The summer after senior year was a great time for me (see above for a picture of me and my home friends in our college shirts), and I hope it is just as fun for you!