I Wish I Knew is a series of personal essays written by the courageous young female ambassadors of UChic. Learn how to survive and thrive during your Freshman Year from girls who have been through it.
This week we are featuring UChic blogger and ambassador Ana Berkovich. Berkovich is a student at Missouri State University.
Freshmen year in college makes you feel completely disconnected from everything you thought you knew. You are suddenly without your family, on your own, trying to get used to a new home. A great part of that uncertainty lies in making new friends unless, like me, you stuck around with the same friends from high school.
Good friends can be hard to find, but they are impossible to forget. weheartit.com
I went to the same university as a large group of my peers from high school. Of this larger group, about five of us were close friends. It felt natural to keep familiar relationships around during this new adventure. It was comfortable. And so I did. When I left my old life behind and moved to this new city, I had a security net of friends.
I am an eccentric person. I don’t always think before I speak and I am often awkward. I say things at the wrong time and mispronounce words. I’ve been teased, by family and friends, my whole life and these high school-turned-college friends were no different. I accepted their teasing and went along with it most of the time, but it soon got to be too much. It seemed like I was the butt of every joke and the jokes kept getting meaner. I was also unhappy about my classes and being away from home and my friends weren’t doing anything to help. In fact, they were making it worse.
When I signed up to live on campus, I was placed in the hall known for its social life. Everybody seemed like they had a million friends and a million plans for the weekend, whereas I had neither. So I applied to move halls, to live with a friend that I knew from previous camps and class. My brother also lived in this hall, so I knew I already had two friends.
Second semester I resolved to make more friends and really enjoy my time. If it didn’t get better by the end of the year, then I would transfer. But I had to give it a shot. One way I made new friends was by talking more in class. I spoke to those around me and, even if we didn’t hit it off or become friends outside of class, it helped make my classes more enjoyable. I spent more time getting involved in groups, and even went through a leadership-training course. I met a lot of really good people who accepted me for who I am and didn’t make me the butt of their jokes.
It’s hard to put yourself out there. But just like everyone is always saying, you really have to. If you just stick with what you’ve always known and don’t try to change then you’re the one to blame for your unhappiness. It’s vital to make new friends freshman year. College is about new experiences and learning from new people. It may be awkward at first, but I can promise you that it will be so, so worth it.
I moved on from most of my high school friendships, and eventually we all went our separate ways. That’s okay. That’s life. I still see them sometimes and always chat with them for as long as we have time. One of them has become one of my best friends. One of the girls in my class is another one of my best friends; we stuck together by having regular coffee meetings and even lived together for a semester. Another friend from the new groups I joined is my best friend, and we just went on a spring break road trip together. These are the friendships that help me be a better person and keep me happy. These are the relationships I’ll go the extra mile to maintain. That’s important, too, that you need to work to maintain your friendships.
If I could give my Freshman self one piece of advice, it’d be this: Get out there and make new friends. You never know who you will meet and how they will change your life.
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