All through school there were always those friends that would distract you when you sat with them. Now that I’m at university, I find I have the opposite problem. I know no one in any of my classes. I go to uni; I sit down; I say nothing for an hour or two, and then I get up and leave. Everyone else seems to have at least one other person in the class that they know, and when you’re the person that has no previous connections with anyone; trying to make friends can be really daunting.
You might think that not having friends at uni isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It means you don’t have any annoying people who might talk to you constantly while you’re trying to listen to the lecturer. I have one of those friends, and after last semester I can definitely see the appeal of not having friends in class.
But, at the end of the day, wouldn’t you rather be in a room with at least one friendly face than in a room where you feel like an outsider among a large group of strangers? I know I would.
Of course, making friends at uni isn’t the same as it was in high school. At uni, you might only have the class for one hour, once a week, for one semester, and then chances are you’ll never see your new literature/accounting/economics friend again. So why bother? Because for that one hour each week for 12 weeks, you’ll feel better about yourself and your environment than if you didn’t make the effort to meet someone.
While there is the possibility that you’ll never meet that person again; there is also a chance that you will. If you are doing a similar course and you have a class together, then there is every possibility you might have another one in the future, and then your groundwork is already complete, and you have an automatic friend in that future class.
A Convenient Meeting
In my first year, one of my dorm friends introduced me to a guy she’d met in O Week. It turned out that Jake was in two of my classes, so the next day I sat with him and his friend Matthew in the lecture. The next week, Jake didn’t show up at the lecture, but as I walked in I saw Matthew.
"I met you last week, right? Matthew?" I said to him as we walked into class, and he replied with: "Yeah that’s right, you’re friends with Jake." And so we sat together for the rest of the semester, whether Jake was there or not. We never saw each other or spoke out of class, but we both turned up each week knowing we didn’t have to sit alone in the lecture and we had someone to talk to while we were waiting for it to start.
A year and a half later, I walked into my first class of the semester, and there was Matthew sitting RIGHT there. Automatic friend. We picked up exactly where we’d left off, and that class suddenly got a whole lot more exciting.
As you can see from Matthew and Jake, it pays to meet your acquaintance’s friends as well. Another example from my first year is when Jake (again) introduced me to a girl called Jane in the other class we had together that first semester. In second semester that year I had Jane in another of my classes, but no Jake. Instead, Jane was with a girl she already knew called Lilly, so I joined them and the three of us sat together.
A year later, I hadn’t seen Lilly since, and last week I walked into a new class, expecting to not recognise a single face. Not only did I actually recognise more than half the people from classes I’d had previously, but the first person I saw was Lilly, and just like with Matthew; Lilly and I picked up exactly where we’d left off.
Making friends at uni doesn’t have to be about meeting people that you see every day for four years straight like high school was. It can be, but usually it isn’t. If not for any other reason, you can meet so many people at uni that it can be hard to keep track of them all as well as your old friends too.
Making friends at uni serves a different purpose. It helps you feel comfortable in a new environment, and also can make boring classes a lot more interesting. Even if you still say nothing for the whole hour, but you have someone to share a glance with when the mature age student who used to be a teacher thinks she knows more than the lecturer again; that one glance will make you feel so much more satisfied with your lot than if you had no one to share it with.