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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Making friends in college requires time, effort

Students share their experiences forming friendships at UC Davis 

 

By JULIANA MARQUEZ ARAUJO — features@theaggie.org 

 

When students think about the difficulties of college, the social aspect can often be overlooked or misconstrued. Each individual has their own experience coming into a new environment, and while one person may consider the task of forming friendships to be effortless, another person may find it daunting. 

However, making true friends is a process that comes with time and patience.

For example, Isabella Lejano, a third-year psychology major, said that it took a while for her to start socializing with people outside of her immediate circle.

“I really started socializing with people and making friends, like, the spring quarter of my second year,” Lejano said. “I think for the first year or so, I took time to just get comfortable with school work and the workload, and then I was like ‘Oh, I can manage this, let’s go out.’”

Before she felt comfortable enough to broaden her friendships, Lejano formed bonds through on-campus housing. 

“If you choose the right dorm — for example, I was in a health sciences and all-female building — it can be really easy to bond with people. That’s how I made a lot of my friends during my first year,” Lejano said.

For most people, the act of being sociable and building connections is familiar, but making friends beyond high school can be a very different experience from what they’re used to.

“I was in a lot of extracurriculars throughout high school so it was easy to make friends,” Lejano said. “But once I got here, I realized that I actually had to branch out; I couldn’t just stay in my little bubble. So, I guess I didn’t really know what to expect, but once I got the hang of it — figuring out how to talk to people and how to approach people — it became a lot easier.”

Finding a community in college can affect one’s experience just as much as the educational aspect, especially for students who are away from home or struggle with socializing.

For students like these, college can become very isolating without community, but it doesn’t have to be. 

Jaqueline Moron, a second-year Spanish major, provided a positive mindset on forming bonds while having an introverted personality.

“I came to college knowing that everyone was going to kind of be in their own little world, and since I like keeping to myself, I don’t really put myself out there. I see it like this: if I meet someone, then I meet someone,” Moron said.

Even if students don’t like to participate in social events, they shouldn’t be discouraged if they haven’t found their community yet. Rianna Asuncion, a third-year psychology major, shared how intimidating it was for her to form new friendships.

“I came into Davis with my two friends from high school, so we kind of went through freshman year together, but we also branched off and made different friends,” Asuncion said. “I was intimidated at first because I came from a really small high school, so I was scared of being able to make friends here, but I was surprised that everyone was really nice. We’re all in the same boat, just trying to get through classes.”

As lonely as it can feel to navigate college, many other students struggle with making friends too. Students assume that finding deep connections in college is easy, but it takes real effort.

In Lejano’s case, she wished she had explored more opportunities to form bonds with fellow students. She even shared some slight regrets in her friend-making journey. 

“I’m pretty okay with how my [journey] ended up because I’m happy with the friends I have, but if I could change something, I would’ve said yes to more things,” Lejano said. “For example, when freshman orientation groups asked to hang out, I should have said yes because that was an opportunity to meet more cool people within my major and classes that I’m taking.”

Asuncion shared a similar sentiment. 

“If I could do something different, I would have joined more clubs. I wasn’t really familiar with what we offered for clubs until last year, so I think that would have been cool to start from the very beginning and then build a community through that,” Asuncion said.

It’s never too late to put yourself out there. Even walking through busy areas like the Memorial Union, you can find resources, connections and opportunities everywhere. 

 

Written by: Juliana Marquez Araujo — features@theaggie.org

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