Please tell me that I was not the only one with this checklist running through my head during the first week of university!
Coming in as a first year student, first impressions were a huge deal to me. Here I was, a young 17 year old entering a school where the older students were probably all best friends, and all the incoming students would be, in my mind, pretty, popular, and bubbly.
Looking back now, with a year under my belt, I don’t know how I was so short-sighted in my thinking. I’ve always known it was wrong to base friendships on superficial characteristics, but that’s the low expectation that I was shrinking down to meet. I was expecting people to judge me in the shallow way that I knew would not lead to lasting friendships.
After the first month or two passed, I would reminisce with my friends about LAUNCH week, and to be honest, I didn’t really remember many of the people I had met back then. Don’t get me wrong- I loved LAUNCH! But it was a busy time, and all the new people I met would get lost in the jumble of information in my mind. It was at this time that I realized that my expectations about first impressions were wrong, especially at a school like Redeemer.
If you haven’t discovered it by now, you will soon realize what a great community Redeemer is. The dorms, small class sizes, and many activities quickly turns a group of strangers into one big family. And as you know with your own family, you can’t stay hidden behind a mask for long- they really get to know you.
So those once-important first impressions will fade to the background as the real you is revealed. Sure, you may have some ugly parts (don’t we all?), but the real you will come shining through with all of your uniqueness that is just waiting to be treasured.
After a few weeks of school, I could see my dorm mates starting to hang out with people that weren’t from our dorm. I started to panic, thinking I would be a loner and never make friends of my own. But of course, as the year progressed, I did make friends, and I’m sure I have many more to make over the next three years.
Based off of my own experience, here are some tips to “get out there” and make some new friends:
1. Take advantage of social opportunities.
Redeemer offers many ways to get to know people, whether it’s a club, sports team, small group, dorm dinner, or just going over to a random dorm to meet people. And the great thing about going to a small school is that you’re bound to run in to people that you’ve just met in the hall and in your classes.
2. Pray for them.
Friends are a gift from God- ask Him for some! And when you do start forming friendships, take advantage of any opportunity to pray with them, whether they’ve lost their student card, are worried for a test, or are having family struggles. I know that this has given me a unique bond with some of my friends.
3. Be Patient.
University life is a huge adjustment, and it could take a few days to a few months to feel completely comfortable being yourself again. Relax, don’t worry, and focus on being a friend whenever an opportunity arises.
Hope this has helped, and I look forward to meeting you all soon!