Advice Life + Arts

Dear Denise: How to be more outgoing as a freshman

Dylan Burkett/The Cougar

Hi, everyone! My name is Denise Miller, and I am the web editor this year for The Cougar. My name may look familiar if you are subscribed to our newsletter. If you aren’t, I’ll give you a bit of time to sign up now. Got it? OK great, back to my introduction. I know y’all enjoyed our anonymous advice column, “Ask Ashley,” so after chatting with Donna Keeya, The Cougar’s CEO/editor in chief, we knew it had to be brought back. 

Ashley’s legacy will be continued with me. Her funny and extremely helpful advice will be missed but never forgotten! If you want to catch up on her previous work, it can be found here.

In this weekly advice column, I’ll be giving advice to freshmen as someone finally entering their senior year of college. To submit your questions for future issues, click the “Dear Denise” button on our home page.

I’m a freshman and I’m terrified of coming to campus without knowing anyone. I know we are told that everyone is kind of feeling the same way, but I don’t know if I am outgoing enough to just start conversations. Help! 

Hey! Thank you for the submission. I remember feeling the exact same way my freshman year. Coming to UH without knowing anyone is actually more common than you think. Since college is such a huge commitment, people tend to pick what place works best for them, and sometimes it’s not around people that they already know. Before I give my advice, I want to say welcome to the Cougar family! I’m sure you will love it here.

Since I can only speak from my experience, I’ll tell you how I started making friends after moving in my freshman year.

Step 1: Talk to your suitemates! 

This may seem obvious, but after moving in I was sitting alone in my dorm and could hear my suitemates in the other room. I was bored, so I decided to knock on the door, pull up a chair and start a conversation.  

Step 2: Attend events hosted by your RA

These events are for you, so it’s important to take advantage of them. Feel free to attend alone or maybe bring a roommate! I remember going to a pumpkin painting event by myself and meeting people on my floor that eventually became my acquaintances. 

Step 3: Join a social club

If you have any interests or hobbies, chances are there’s a club for you! Go to the Get Involved tab in your AccessUH and look around.   

Step 4: Give it time

This was the hardest lesson for me to learn because I expected to find my best friends in the whole wide world within one week of me moving in. But that was not the case. Everyone is feeling awkward and shy at first, but as the semester goes on and people become familiar with their new surroundings, friendships are sure to form. 

I hope this helped and let me know in a few weeks if my tips were a success or failure! 

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