The transition to college can be really, really scary. There are so many things to worry about: Will I remember to bring everything? Will I be able to handle the workload? What will my professors be like? Will I make friends?
The last question, was the biggest concern for me. I would consider myself an ambivert. I absolutely love to talk and spend time with others. But after a day filled with social activities, I need some (or a lot of ) alone time to relax. I knew that I wouldn’t have problems introducing myself to others. But I was concerned about actually forming friendships that went past the surface level, as well as how I would maintain friendships with my besties from back home.
Something that I personally feel was vital to helping me settle in and make new friends with ease was participating in a pre-o program. I would strongly recommend that you participate in one if you’re a transfer student or an incoming freshman. They have a wide variety of programs, meaning that everyone can find something they’ll enjoy. I personally participated in TWO (Tufts Wilderness Orientation). I was placed on a backpacking trip through this program, meaning I spent five days in the woods, hiking through the woods of New Hampshire with two student leaders, and eight other students. This was an absolutely incredible experience for me, and was very influential in helping me to make friends. Over the course of the trip, I got to know my leaders and peers very well. Since coming back to campus, I have seen the friends I made on that trip several times a week, and consider them to be some of my closest friends here at Tufts. Talking to other individuals who participated in different pre-o’s I found that they have had similar experiences. For this reason, if you’re concerned about making friends on campus, I would strongly recommend that you participate in a pre-orientation program, if it is possible for you.
That said, it’s also totally possible to make friends with ease if you don’t participate in a pre-o program. Since coming to campus, I’ve made a ton of friends on my floor and throughout my dorm. The truth is, that during the first month or so, everyone else is also worried about making friends. As long as you show that you’re open to others, you will find people to talk to. Introduce yourself to others! Ask random people if you can sit with them! Hangout in the commons! Say hi to people you’ve only talked to once! All of these things are things I did to meet others and (possibly) form lasting friendships.
I also think it’s important to note that you don’t have to make ‘best friends’ during your first few months at college. I know I felt some weird sort of pressure to find the group of people who I would spend the rest of my four years with during the first two weeks of college. But often real friendships take time to form, and that is totally okay. There’s no need to feel pressure to make friends the minute you step onto campus- I promise that you have time.
As far as maintaining friendships from high school, you will feel out a system that works best for you and your friends. Personally, I have one friend who I send memes back and forth with and talk to a few times a week, and another friend who I have a consistent snapchat game going on with, and who I check in with and talk to pretty consistently throughout the week. I have other friends, who I wasn’t as close to who I keep in touch with by commenting back and forth on their snapchat stories or instagram posts. Every friendship has a different dynamic, and you and your friends will figure out what works best for you.
Most importantly, I want to let you know that you will have friends. I was so scared that I wouldn’t find a group to fit in with, but it happened naturally. Everyone wants to make friends, everyone is open to it. The people here at Tufts are so incredibly genuine and nice, and they have such a wide variety of interests. I promise you will find people that you just ‘click’ with. So make sure you enjoy your first few weeks on campus, and try to be a little less nervous- you’ve totally got this.