by Peyton Wood
College is already hard academically, so adding on a social life can make it more enjoyable, but can also add more pressure. As an introvert, I see life a little differently. I assume that people do not want to spend time with me. I see groups of people hanging out and wonder why I am never invited. Not all of this comes without prompting, however; for example, I was once sitting with a group of friends who then proceeded to go out and leave me sitting by myself, no invitation, nothing. I felt really overlooked and unloved. So this blog is about how to cope with feeling left out and how to make your social life more enjoyable.
Don’t limit yourself to always hanging out with one group or one person. You may be missing out on great friendships by limiting yourself in that way. The best way to find your people is through casting a wide net. It may be hard for you like it is for me, but if I can do it, you can too. My best friend in college is such a blessing in my life, but we don’t need to be attached at the hip. She has some great friends that I don’t know very well and I have some that she doesn’t know very well either, but we always have each other. I am always trying to find more opportunities to spend time with friends and acquaintances with the goal of finding lasting relationships, and it can be as easy as going out to lunch or even just studying together. I got to know one of my favorite people from college by simply talking to her in the hallways and saying good morning! It’s a great feeling when those relationships begin to form right before your eyes and you instigated it!
Don’t assume that people don’t want to hang out with you. People are ignorant and don’t realize that you may feel like they are shutting you out. Maybe they think you’re busy or that you would not like the food they’re going to get. As someone who often feels overlooked and left out, I have to stay positive and believe that if I am not invited to things, that okay and it does not mean that people don’t like me.
Don’t be afraid to make friends with people in other grades! Some of the best friendships I had in high school were with freshmen when I was a senior, and two of my closest friends in college are a sophomore and a junior (in the picture!). It is totally normal and awesome to get along with people who aren’t in your grade. Being friends with upperclassmen is great because they can give you tips on how to get through college and be great role models and being friends with lower classmen is awesome because you get to answer any questions they may have, calm their nerves, and help them survive the undergraduate years.
If you haven’t found your people yet, that is fine! It may seem like groups are forming around you and you have no one, but believe me, groups and friendships ebb and flow and change and you aren’t the only one who maybe hasn’t found their place. This is information that I have heard from almost every upperclassman I have talked to so I thought I would share it with y’all!
Make friends with people who are totally different than you! Distinguished Young Women is a great example of how to do this. I bonded over a love of musical theatre with Haley Geiger, WV and Mary Elizabeth Royce, MT, but also made long lasting relationships with my roommates, Catherine Liang, CA and Lexi Warchock, MI, even though we had very little in common! I love spending time listening to people talk about things they love…even if I have no idea what they’re talking about! Being versatile and tolerant of all types of people is a brilliant virtue to have and can give you some amazing friends.
Now time for another myth bust!
Myth #1: Your professors know everything.
Fact#1: Your professors are still learning and they learn from you! You play such a big role in their lives as their student. There are still questions that haven’t been asked or concepts that haven’t been explored. And they may say that they don’t know the answer to your questions, and that is okay! Professors do so much for us, we can’t expect them to be geniuses too.
Myth #2: More expensive schools or private schools are better and you will receive a better education from them.
Fact #2: Just because a school is expensive does not mean it is better, and just because a school is less expensive does not mean that it is lower caliber. I know this all too well, being from Texas. University of Texas and Texas A&M are some of the most sought after schools–and they are public! While state schools were not the route for me, I know many people who are continually challenged by the curriculum at those schools, just like I am at Baylor.
Myth #3: You have to have it figured out by now.
Fact #3: I didn’t know where I was going to college until a week before May 1st, or the date by which most schools require you to enroll. Some of my friends knew really early on, even first semester of senior year, but it’s okay if you are still deciding or if you haven’t heard back from some schools yet.
Well, that’s it for this year. See you in January!
Peyton Wood, Distinguished Young Woman of Texas