Having a friend with you while studying sometimes can make you even more productive. Photo by Abby Ayre.
MADDIE WOOD | ASSISTANT OPINION EDITOR | firstname.lastname@example.org
Initially, they may just be people that you vibe with, but if you’re lucky they will stick around to share some of the most memorable experiences you’ll have.
Friends are one of the most pivotal parts of the college experience. Some people dread meeting new people and gaining new friendships, and others are so excited they have their hands ready to shake a new one at any moment.
Going to college can be a scary experience in general, but having to establish your identity to an entirely new audience makes it even more daunting. You fall into a routine and a sense of normalcy when you are in your hometown around friends you have known for quite a while. Going off to college erases all of that comfortability that you come to know and can cause a lot of anxiety. However, anchoring yourself to pre-existing interests can definitely help keep you from going under.
Aidan Trachtman, a junior biology and chemistry double major, believes that making friends is easier when you’re involved in the same things.
“You’re a lot more likely to find people with the same values if they have the same interests,” Trachtman said. “My friendships that are with people who aren’t involved in the same [clubs] that I am tend to be [more scarce]. I’ve still found people that share the same values, and I have great friendships with [them]; I just noticed that I’m more likely to find those kinds of friendships in mutual activities.”
If getting involved is the route you want to take, it’s actually pretty easy, despite it seeming very daunting. Butler makes it quite simple to see how you can get involved and find your “thing” and even the people you wish to spend your time with. There is an Engage page that lists every organization on campus that you can join and even has a little explanation of what the organization is and how to contact them.
There are endless opportunities for students to get involved on campus, but the question remains, where do you meet new people to attend those meetings and clubs with?
For some students, you meet the people you live with in your suite and in your hallway and create a friend group through living in the same areas. For others, it may take actually going to these club meetings and events where you meet the people you click with.
Personally, I struggled a lot at the beginning of my first year with making friends and getting those solid connections that most people seem to already have figured out. It wasn’t until the end of my first semester that I found myself a solid friend group, and solid friends in general. It took time, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was a struggle for quite a while. However, it was very worth that time of struggle to find the people that I can confidently say I will have around for the rest of my college career — and hopefully beyond.
Junior creative writing major Tori Satchwell explained how she and her first-year roommate clicked instantly and were invited to hang out with her roommate’s friends one night which led to creating what she called her “core four.”
“I finally said yes,” Satchwell said. “We got dinner together every single night of [our first year], and we still hang out [to this day]. I couldn’t imagine Butler without them.”
Satchwell got extremely lucky and has a great success story with her friends, but for people who don’t necessarily click with their roommates and suitemates — including myself — what are you supposed to do?
Skylar Ashcraft, a sophomore criminology-psychology major, shared that her tactic from her first year was to be friendly toward others.
“I came to college with such bad social anxiety,” Ashcraft said. “I was very scared to meet new people or make a wrong impression. I would say the number one thing I always told myself is just smile. If you’re walking down the hall, smile at someone that passes by.”
Trachtman also had a similar philosophy his first year, but a bit bolder than just smiling at passersby.
“The first month of school I had this rule,” Trachtman said. “If [there] was a person I didn’t know, and they looked interesting in any sort of way, I would introduce myself. It was pretty scary, but I got in a mindset of forcing myself to [introduce myself] … I ended up finding some really good friends by just introducing myself.”
As you can see, there are a ton of methods you can use in order to meet new friends and create those bonds. I think the key to gaining friendships is to simply keep an open mind and be kind. I was so set in my ways when I got to Butler that I didn’t even want to entertain the idea of new friends in my life, thinking that my best friends back home were all I needed. I quickly realized that was not going to work out in my favor, especially when my best friends were on the West Coast — nowhere near the humble Midwest we reside in.
Whether you take Ashcraft’s tactic into consideration and just start smiling at people whom you walk past, Satchwell’s idea of saying yes to things and going with the flow, or Trachtman’s rather bold philosophy on just “cold opening” when meeting new people, there are endless ways to meet new people and make friends.
Take my word for it; you will find those people eventually. I couldn’t be more grateful for the time I waited to find my friends because, without them, I’m not even sure I would be back on this campus this year. So, take your time, smile at some people, be kind, and for now, in the wise words of Randy Newman, know that “you’ve got a friend in me.”