Don’t let your high school brain get in the way of making college friends

Chris Charleston/ The Cougar

When starting a new chapter of life, it is normal to have expectations and sadly they might not be met, but it’s important to cherish what one has. Friendships in college are different from high school, and that is OK. | Christopher Charleston/ The Cougar

When you first go off to college, there are a lot of expectations, one of which is to find a group of friends. You expect to click with your roommate immediately or someone from orientation and then immediately delve into an amazing friendship. 

Sometimes that happens, and it’s great! But sometimes it doesn’t and it can feel like everyone has found their people but you. It can be lonely when your social life doesn’t live up to your expectations as you start college and that’s OK. We can’t help but have expectations, but we need to remember not to be too let down when they are not met. 

When I first came to UH, I knew nobody. Like many people, I had a good group of friends in high school and my expectations were that I was going to find another group. After a month or two, I hadn’t found a group. I had a friend here and there, but I saw so many groups walking and eating together on campus that I couldn’t help but feel left out of something. 

Despite some friends I made, I was lonely. I didn’t have a group and I felt deprived because of it. It seemed everyone had found people but me. To be honest, I still don’t necessarily have a single group of friends, and that’s OK. I had to realize that the other separate friendships I had were just as valuable as a typical friend group. 

We go into college with expectations we had in high school. But college isn’t high school. It’s different in so many ways. Many of us had the same friend group for years in grade school, so having to make friends in college is strange. 

We haven’t had to make friends completely out of strangers since kindergarten. So it can be difficult for some people to immediately click with others.

Even if you go to college with friends from high school and remain friends, people find other friends and the friendship dynamic changes. We might hope that all our post high school friendships will be just like high school, but they won’t and that’s OK. College is all about change. 

So you may be going into college with these cinematic expectations of clicking with a group of people immediately or becoming best friends with your roommate. Who knows? That all could happen. But it might not, and that’s alright. If you find yourself at the end of your first semester not having found your people yet, you’re not alone. 

It’s OK to be sad about it too of course. But it’s important to realize that our high school expectations of college often don’t live up, and when we realize that, we have to start looking at what we have and how we can work with it and make it better. 

College is confusing, exciting and full of possibilities. Don’t let what was in your high school brain get you down too much!

Anna Baker is an English sophomore who can be reached at [email protected] 

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