No new friends? Yes, new friends!

Alright, seniors. I don’t want to sound dramatic, but this year is going to fly by, and after this? This is it. The thought alone is making me tear up and crave a chocolate bar (or two), so I’m going to just jump right into it. We’re not getting any younger, and neither are you juniors and underclassmen. However, that doesn’t mean that we have to give up when it comes to trying new things … or making new friends.

I was really lucky and found a solid group of friends early on in my first year at Loras. We’ve stayed super close and only gotten closer as the years have gone on, and I’m pretty positive that they’ll always remain my go-tos even after we part ways this May. But a danger that can be posed when you find such a close-knit group early on is that it can be very easy to settle into your routine and not feel the need to branch out, bring others in, or leave the pack every so often and do your own thing with new people.

It’s only the beginning of the semester, but already I’m really happy to say that I’ve made some great new friends and grown closer again to ones that I drifted away from. Maybe it’s the fact that our imminent graduation is on our brains, but for some reason seniors always seem to do this. We’re feeling a little (or very) sentimental about our shared experiences, and we have some great new memories that are about to be made with activities like senior tailgates, Homecoming, struggling our way through theses, capstones and portfolios, and being campus organization leaders. All of these things really bring senior classes together, and so far our class has proven to be no exception to this rule. But whatever the motivation is to suddenly become close to the rest of the entire senior class, take it and run with it! I’ve already had so much fun hanging out with new friends, and breaking free a bit from my ordinary routine.

The great thing about getting older is the loss of so many of the stigmas and social “rules” that we grew up with. Although they don’t completely ever disappear, and we unfortunately will probably always have to live with some people thinking they are too cool for school and other people, many people have outgrown the childish belief that they are somehow more important and more valuable than other people. So take advantage of this too! We’re all adults … at least in age. So act like it. Don’t let petty prejudices or preconceived judgments of people prevent you from reaching out and getting to know them before it’s too late. Put any rumors you’ve heard, any stereotypes that you’ve had, and any biased judgments aside and start from scratch. Too often I think we decide to like or dislike someone purely based on what a friend thinks of them or what we’ve heard about them. We’re grown-ups, and it’s time to stop taking part in petty gossip and give people a chance. You might just be surprised by who you get to know.

So, whether you’re a senior like me or a first-year just starting out, take a chance on some new friends! Approach someone that you wouldn’t “normally be friends with.” Maybe ask out that girl/guy that you think is “way out of your league.” Invite someone new to join your friend group’s weekly trip to Cold Stone. It doesn’t have to be anything major. But you’ll find that the thrill of finding a new person that shares your interests or purely is fun to talk to can really break you out of a slump. Strike up a conversation before class. Say hi passing in the hallway. Start with a smile.

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