When I got to college, I immediately felt overwhelmed by the thought of meeting a whole new group of friends in a place that still felt so foreign. Looking back now, four months after graduation, there are three things I wish I could tell my freshman self about what my college social life would grow to be after that first year.
#1: Everyone is just as nervous as you are.
I distinctly remember walking around on my first football Saturday seeing crowds of freshmen who looked like they had everything figured out. They knew what parties to go to, who to hang out with, and seemed to have a better scope of the university than I did. The truth about freshmen is that everyone is just as nervous as you are, no matter how confident they appear on the outside. Starting college is a huge transition that takes a lot of work, regardless of whether someone enters with hundreds of high school friends or not knowing a soul. Just remember that you’re all experiencing the same ups and downs, and it will make those self-assured people a little more relatable.
#2: Your roommate doesn’t have to be your best friend.
When I left for college, I was under the impression that my roommate HAD to be my best friend, and we had to do everything together. I was very fortunate to have an awesome freshman year roommate, but although we coexisted perfectly and hung out a lot, we also had separate lives and did our own things. Whether you find yourself living with someone who you love, someone who you can just live with, or someone you don’t get along with so well, it is important to understand that your roommate doesn’t have to be your best friend. If it works out that way that’s great, but if not, your roommate can still be an important part of your life.
#3: The Greek System doesn’t have to define your social life.
When I went through the rush process and joined a sorority, I lost contact with many friends I’d made at the beginning of the year who had not rushed or joined different houses. Some of these people re-entered my life, but some did not. While fraternities and sororities can be very time-consuming and offer a large variety of social experiences, I wish I’d known as a freshman that it didn’t have to take over my life. It is important to keep in touch with the people that were important to you before rush because you were friends with them for a reason, and they will be great outlets when Greek life becomes a little too consuming. Having varied groups of friends is a great way to have an enriching college experience—you never know who you’ll be closest to once graduation rolls around.