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Friday, August 23, 2019

Opinion

Friendship is attainable in college, but it requires some work


Friendship Grad students Rufeng Li (left) and Xiaojing Ma. Finding is hard, but it's important to find some as you head start college. | Katrina Martinez/The Cougar

Finding friends is hard, but it’s important to find make some as you start college. | Katrina Martinez/The Cougar

Loneliness isn’t something that was promised as part of the college experience on TV, but many of today’s students are forced to make acquaintance with it once they start higher education.

In the modern college climate, friendship may seem like a commodity, which falls into the laps of the fortunate and picks its targets at random. That’s simply not true, as everybody is capable of making friends, but it requires some work.

There’s a loneliness crisis on college campuses. If you ever feel as though you aren’t capable of making friends or that people just don’t want to hang out with you, put that out of your mind. It’s not your fault. The landscape has changed in the last decade, and relationships don’t form as effortlessly as they used to.

Making friends at college isn’t easy. It’s even harder for those who live off campus. Classmates most frequently tend to themselves and strangers often keep their heads low. Even for those living in the residence halls, while they might have an easier time, their neighbors will probably be hanging out with friends that they already have, or staying in their rooms.

What are you supposed to do when trying to make friends? You need to make an effort to branch out. But finding a situation where you’re comfortable with socializing is somewhat of a daunting task, especially if you get anxious easily.

Talking to strangers is the tried and true method of making new friends. It’s how I found my friends. To many, this is the most terrifying notion that they could be approached with. It seems as though everybody wants to be left alone and anybody who interrupts their silence will be seen as little more than a nuisance.

But here’s a well-kept secret — that’s not true. Ninety percent of the time, talking to strangers will be a pleasant experience for both parties — and that other 10 percent won’t result in anything worse than a fleeting awkward moment.

If that’s not your style, then joining a club is probably your best option. It’s the most common piece of advice given to people who are dealing with this issue for good reason. You’re almost guaranteed to find people with common interests there.

So, why should you make friends in college? Well, it’s important. Spending time with friends is not only important for de-stressing, but is also an excellent catalyst for fine-tuning your social skills, which is vital to finding and keeping a job.

Friendship is a scary thing to be without in a new environment, and the loneliness and fear that accompany that absence are far cries from what anybody wants to subjected to in such an important transition in their lives.

You don’t have to be stuck in that situation, because there are plenty of opportunities to meet people on campus. Plus, you have plenty of resources to assist you through the process. You just have to put yourself out there.

And if you’re still having trouble talking to new people, then try to remember this: We’re all college students, just like you. If you can’t think of anything else to break the ice, then you can always fall back on the classic, “What’s your major?”

Opinion columnist Kyle Dishongh is a finance sophomore and can be reached at [email protected]

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