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Making new friends takes time — including during freshman year

| Wednesday, August 28, 2019

“I hope they’re having fun,” I thought as I watched a group of freshmen sing and shout “Mr. Brightside” across God Quad. “I really do. But also, thank goodness I don’t have to go through that again.”

As I watched first years parade around campus, I was brought back to my own Welcome Weekend. Every dorm event felt like an endless shuffle from fellow freshman to fellow freshman as I tried to meet as many people as possible, but our conversations rarely went beyond the name/major/hometown Notre Dame introduction. I was torn between the desire to make new friends and to just have a few quiet minutes alone.

After Welcome Weekend, I left a little closer with my roommates and a couple of other girls from my dorm. I was grateful for these slowly developing friendships, but felt a bit frustrated — getting to know new people, and move beyond boring small talk, seemed difficult to do, and I was getting tired of introducing myself to new people.

Fortunately, both of my roommates were friendly and outgoing, and I did end up meeting a lot of people through them. And as I began to get involved with clubs on campus, I also found it easier to connect with people as we already had at least one interest in common.

All of this is to say: If you’re a freshman and feeling a little lonely after orientation, that’s OK. Chances are everyone else is too. As you settle into your classes and start to involve yourself in campus life, you’ll find more ways to bond with your classmates — whether that’s struggling through general chemistry, taking on Hawaiian-shirt-clad opponents in broomball, sharing your faith in a small group or taking part in any other number of activities.

You probably won’t make all of your friends in your first year of college, so there’s no need to fret if you didn’t get to know as many people as you would have liked during orientation. Some of your future friends probably don’t even attend your school yet and you’ll only get to know them as an upperclassman.

Throughout your sophomore year, as you all get more busy, you may drift apart. Maybe you’ll make new friends. Maybe you’ll reconnect with your old friends down the road. Maybe both. And perhaps, just when you feel your friend group is firmly finalized as an upperclassman, you’ll be surprised to find yourself making other close friends outside of that group in just a few short months.

Welcome Weekend certainly isn’t reflective of your four years at college, and it can be hard to bond with people during orientation, especially if you’re an introvert like I am. So, if you’re a first year just settling in, don’t start worrying about your squad just yet. That will come with time. Enjoy your classes, join a few clubs and, of course, feel free to swing by The Observer office and say hi if you want to write for us — but please, just don’t ask my dorm or major.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Natalie Weber

Natalie Weber graduated in 2020 from the University of Notre Dame, with a Bachelor of Arts in English and minors in journalism and computing. A native of Grand Junction, Colorado she most recently served as Managing Editor at The Observer. // Email: [email protected] // Twitter: @wordsbyweber

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