In the first few weeks, freshmen will latch onto one another for social survival.
Finding a couple of friends early on feels like finding a life vest while you’re drowning; finally, you can breathe. Armed with your very first friends, mealtime stops feeling so scary, and you start to feel more relaxed in this new environment. You feel all warm and snuggly in your new comfort zone, and the thought of voluntarily leaving this security in search of new friends can be intimidating. But, don’t sell yourself short. Your class, and the classes above you, are filled with talented, interesting people with whom you have the privilege to live. If you spend your entire college experience with the same three kids you met at orientation, you will be squandering away this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet and befriend as many amazing people—and I promise you, there will be many more than you realize—as you can in four years. Chances are, however, that your college will be much larger than your high school, and the thought of sifting through thousands of classmates to find a group of likeminded friends can bring on wave of anxiety. This is where extracurricular activities come in.
Like chunking your school work into smaller, manageable pieces, extracurriculars can provide way for students to break down a large student body into navigable pods of like-minded people.
It took me nearly the whole first semester to master the art of academic chunking, but by spring semester, I was feeling confident in my juggling abilities and wanted to try something new. I had made friends early on, but was beginning to itch to expand my social network on campus. So, one January night, I followed a friend to a meeting of the Nassau Weekly, a publication that blends news with creative writing, where I met a group of some of the most talented, thoughtful, and creative people I have ever encountered. Even if you don’t find your best friends through a club like this, it is still a wonderful way to meet people you might not have met otherwise and feel like you are contributing member of your college community. The Nassau Weekly allowed me to grow as a writer, connect with people who shared similar interests, and provided me with a sense of belonging within the vast and diverse community of Princeton.
Interested in reading more about Olivia’s experience? Check out her next post on getting the most out of relationships with professors!