Six things I wish I had known about college friendships as a freshman
Whether you were high school homecoming royalty or the John-Bender-from-The-Breakfast-Club of your class, you probably came to UT with some preconceived notions of friends, relationships, and social life in general. Here’s a brutally honest guide to the ups, downs, and in-betweens of college friendships to help you as you embark on four years at the Forty Acres.
1. You’ll probably make “fish-out-of-water friends”
There’s nothing like being completely alone in a new place to force friendships, and freshmen often stick together like water molecules pulled by hydrogen bonds. This is especially common at the beginning of college. While sometimes the first people you meet remain your friends throughout college, sometimes these hasty friendships can evaporate—and that is okay. Once you get involved with some organizations or other activities, you will find people whose interests align more closely with yours.
2. The time commitment is different
In high school, you probably saw the same friends every day—if you didn’t have class with them, you probably at least ran into them in the hallways from time to time. But it’s a different environment on UT’s 40-acre campus, and keeping up with your favorite people requires a different time commitment—which is still totally doable! Some fun ways to hang out with people on a tight schedule: study dates, cooking together, or having a weekly scheduled time to meet—i.e. lunch on Fridays.
3. Friends can change with the semesters
So you made a really great friend in your chemistry class. You hung out every day for two months straight, cried over breakups, established “regular” status at the coffee shop in the PCL, and drilled each other on acid-base reaction so many times you have a whole suite of inside jokes related to the strong bases. But then next semester rolls around, and your schedules don’t match up. Will you remain friends even though you barely have time to see each other?
The short answer is, yes. But your friendship will not be quite the same. It’s different than in high school when friends generally stay close because of similar routines. In college, as your classes and schedules change, so will your relationships. If you really value the friendship, you will make time for it.
4. Don’t stress out about making friends—you will find your niche sooner or later!
“The friends you make in college will be you friends for life,” said every adult ever, as I was gearing up for college. And while maybe that should have encouraged me, it just ended up stressing me out. What if I didn’t make the right friends? What if I come out of college without friends for life? Will I be forever friendless?
Here’s the main idea: No, you won’t be forever friendless. Yes, you can and will make great friends in college. But that is not exclusive to college. You can make great friends at any stage in life. Don’t stress out and just enjoy it!
5. Roommates can be your best friends—or worst enemies.
It’s easy to be friends with a person. Living with them is a whole different game. Carefully consider important things such as: am I and my potential roommate equivalently clean/messy? Do we handle stress in a similar way? How is our communication/how could we improve it? Once you’ve chosen your roommate, remember the UT student housing market is a tough, first-come-first-served place—start thinking and talking about living arrangements early to ensure you have a great time next year!
6. Friends are great, but remember to take time for yourself.
It can be tempting to fill up all your time with girls/boys nights, spontaneous Pokemon-playing adventures, and way too many trips to Kerbey Lane, but remember to pencil in some you-time to balance your busy schedule. College is an exciting adventure, and even the most extroverted socialite needs some time to recharge!