Tagwa Shammet, Opinions Editor
Congratulations on making it through your first week of classes, class of 2023. More importantly, congratulations on making it through your first week of social competition and anxiety.
Let’s talk college friendships. I can tell you firsthand that making friends in college is the hardest thing you have to do in this new learning environment. Sure, your classes and figuring out your major are quite stressful, but a support system is necessary to handle those experiences.
The first few weeks of college are both academically and emotionally draining. There’s a whole mixture of emotions you feel during your first months at college — ranging from sadness to overwhelming joy. When I first moved in, I found myself unable to really feel any of my pent up emotions. Soon, all those emotions came flooding out, and I began missing home, my family, my friends, my old life. This sadness felt never-ending. Many freshmen are probably going through the same upsetting emotions right now.
However, once you’re over that overwhelming sadness, you find yourself quite nervous. Classes, new friends, parties, house shows, all of these new things and experiences — it’s easy not to know where you belong. Then, believe it or not, all of those nerves manifest into something great. With time, you’ll fall into a friend group you love, you’ll join clubs you’re passionate about, and you’ll excel in the classes you swore you’d never pass.
Freshmen, hear me when I say you will be happy in due time. It’s normal to feel alone, afraid, and overwhelmed during these first few months, but VCU will become your home sooner than you think. I, too, sat in my ninth-story Brandt dorm room last year, swearing on everything that I’d never be happy here; but, I can honestly say I found a home at VCU.
That is primarily because of my friend group. I’m constantly surrounded by a group of people who interest me, entice me and challenge me to be the best version of myself. I know, it sounds corny, but the people I’ve met at VCU have changed my life. I’ve met individuals who are kind, intelligent, ridiculously artistic and talented, politically aware and “rolling on the floor” type hilarious. And those are only the three girls I’m living with this year. The friends I made last year became my housemates this year. I made a girl group that does nothing but build each other up, support the others to greatness, and have a fun night out with laughter and love. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you these people will be my friends for life.
So, when you venture out to find your “friends for life,” keep some things in mind. First off, this is not high school. You’re not obligated to be friends with people who don’t hold the same morals and integrity as you. You should never subject yourself to people who don’t respect you or what you stand for. Find friends who love you, regardless of your difference in beliefs.
Your friends should make you want to be a better person. Find people who will hit the books with you when necessary and stay behind in the dorms if you don’t want to go out on Saturday night. Friends should make you want to ace an exam and share your achievements. And remember, you matter most. Your friends should understand that it’s OK for you to take a day off hanging out to just be with yourself. It’s nearly impossible to be happy all the time, so extend yourself the courtesy of a “you” day.
Making friends in college is difficult, scary and most importantly, exciting. You will be alright, I promise. But, if you only take one thing from this new experience, let it be a group of people who make you feel at home. I promise, it’s worth the trouble.