Tips with Trish: Making new friends

Dear Trish,

I have been thinking about making an appointment in the Counseling Center but not sure that counseling is where I need to be. I have just been feeling really overwhelmed lately.  I have the usual anxiety about classes and keeping up with everything but it’s more than that. I think the bigger issue is that I’m kind of lonely. I still wonder if Loras is really the place for me. I know the education is good and the people are really nice but it’s my second year and I haven’t really found a solid group of friends yet.  Is this normal? Feels like everyone else is settled in and happy.

Signed, Uncertain and Unhappy

 

Trish says,

College is definitely an adjustment and that doesn’t mean just the first year. Some students adjust quickly and feel connected from the outset. Sometimes this is because they came to campus early, are a part of a sports team, or are just the outgoing type and search out the relationships. Others end up going through the motions but not really ever letting go of high school friends and experiences of the past.  Some students are just naturally more introverted and are uncomfortable with the social scene or just truly uninterested in all of the activities where friendships are usually made. Let’s be honest, some question whether Loras really has their kind of people………non-athletes, non-spiritual or just culturally different than the majority.

Graphic by Anna Petersen

First of all, you are not alone. You are going to have to do some of the work, however. If you found friends in high school, it may have been because you knew many of them your whole life, back when mom was arranging your playdates. It’s harder here. Everyone is new and you don’t know their background. If you never found a good group of friends in high school, you may need some help with social skills, and that’s okay. Tell your residence life staff you need some guidance, or consider joining a club where there is some structure around meeting people — that takes the pressure of you doing all of the work.

The ACT test doesn’t assess social skills, so just because you got into college doesn’t mean you’ll be naturally good at meeting people. It means that intellectually, you are smart enough to be here. Integrating into the community and learning how to be present and social are skills that may benefit you. College isn’t just about getting the degree, it’s about learning how to dialogue and engage with people who are different from you … and about trying new things that might be out of your comfort zone.

One last thing to think about it participating in a new group on campus that is meant to help Duhawks connect. It is a low key open group that meets during common time in the back of the CEL office on the 5th floor of the ACC.  It is literally called “Duhawks Connect”. It’s a great place to just talk about how to navigate the stressors of college, practice mindfulness, and chill with some fun people.

Signed, Trish

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