UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | May 21, 2024

Establish friendships in college before it’s too late

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The day I started college I could count on maybe one hand the number of people I knew. Of that, I was only close friends with two them.

After our first semester ended, they both moved back home while I continued to attend DSU. 

I wish I could say I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to meet new people after they left, but I didn’t. Instead, I sat quietly in each of my classes and isolated myself from those around me. When I wasn’t studying or finishing homework, I picked up any shifts I could to hit my max hours every week at work. While my GPA and bank account steadily increased, my social skills and mental wellbeing suffered.

My life continued to repeat this endless cycle of sleep, school and work until my junior year of college, and in a lot of ways, I really regret my first two years because of this. 

Rather than take years to establish friendships in college, here are some tips to take into consideration: 

Don’t take general education classes all at once 
Let’s be honest, when I was a high school senior looking at classes to add for my first semester of college, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing or what I wanted to pursue. This confusion mixed with the fear of changing my major too many times encouraged me to sign up for only general education classes.

I continued this trend for two years straight, which was a huge mistake. Class after class I was surrounded by different people, and after the semester ended, I rarely saw them again.

The day I started college I could count on maybe one hand the number of people I knew. Of that, I was only close friends with two them.

   After our first semester ended, they both moved back home while I continued to attend Dixie State University. 

   I wish I could say I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to meet new people after they left, but I didn’t. 

   Instead, I sat quietly in each of my classes and isolated myself from those around me. When I wasn’t studying or finishing homework, I picked up any shifts I could to hit my max hours every week at work. While my GPA and bank account steadily increased, my social skills and mental well-being suffered.

   My life continued to repeat this endless cycle of sleep, school and work until my junior year of college, and in a lot of ways, I really regret my first two years because of this. 

   Rather than take years to establish friendships in college, here are some tips to take into consideration:

 

   Don’t take general education classes all at once 

   Let’s be honest, when I was a high school senior looking at classes to add for my first semester of college, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing or what I wanted to pursue. This confusion mixed with the fear of changing my major too many times encouraged me to sign up for only general education classes. 

   I continued this trend for two years straight, which was a huge mistake. Class after class I was surrounded by different people, and after the semester ended, I rarely saw them again. 

   While you obviously have to fulfill general ed requirements, balance these classes with other classes that interest you. The class sizes are usually a lot smaller, and you will most likely see these students in multiple classes for years to come. 

Just say “hi”

   While your immediate reaction may be to sit as far away from everyone in a class when you don’t know anyone, try sitting next to someone you’ve never met before and introduce yourself. 

   Or, if someone sits next to you, don’t sigh heavily and think, of all the seats in this room why did you sit right next to me? Instead look at this as an opportunity to meet someone new. 

Don’t settle 

   Now this may sound contradictory, but after you have established friendships in college, it’s crucial to be selective with who you keep around. 

   If you realize someone who you socialize with on a regular basis isn’t helping you grow as a person and is constantly causing drama, drop them as soon as possible because you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. At the end of the day, you decide who you want to be around when you go on to pursue your dreams. 

Go beyond your classroom

If people like me find their significant other online, who’s to say you can’t make friends too? 

 Depending on how comfortable you are with meeting people online, apps like Patook and Meetup offer various ways to socialize with new people. Friend making apps like these use your preferences and interests to find other users like you so you can connect online and later in real life. 

Attend the student events  

   Instead of rolling your eyes at some of the yawn worthy campus events Dixie State University Student Association highlights on social media and Trailblazer Weekly, suck up your pride every once in a while and go. 

   Opportunities like this give you the chance to socialize with all kinds of students you may have never met before, and who knows, you may end up meeting some really cool individuals. 

   You can also reach out to those you talk to regularly in your classes to see if they’d care to join you. Even if they decline, don’t let this deter you from at least trying to go for the experience and possibly getting free food. 

   Not to mention, part of your student fees go toward funding these events anyway, so why not make the most of your money?