This past week was Thanksgiving and despite it being a fundamentally flawed holiday, I’ll still take a moment to say that I am extremely grateful for all of my college friends. So, strap in for a quick blog where I talk a bit about my first-year social experience.
My very first Northeastern friend I met in an incoming first-year group chat (I know kind of cringe) where we bonded over a love for the ridiculous show, Instant Hotel. We chatted in the group chat from the moment it was created and all through the summer where we were able to first meet in person at this program called Summer Bridge. Summer Bridge is a 5-day program for incoming first year Black and Latinx science and engineering students to create a community before starting in the fall. This is also where I met a lot of my other good friends, but I don’t have space to talk about everyone here. Bridge was an absolute blast, and it was really nice to go into the year already knowing a couple of people who were going to be on campus. We were super lucky to live in the same residence hall and have a couple of the same classes our first semester which made it super easy to become best friends!
Most of the friends I made were not through the incoming first-year group chat, but rather during the first couple weeks of school when people are especially outgoing. It’s the perfect time to make new friends because we’re all starting this new chapter in our lives (I know it sounds cheesy but it’s so true). There were a couple times that people had their doors propped open, and I literally just poked my head in to say hi and ended up chatting for hours. Also, you can hear whenever people are talking in the hallway, so there were several times when I was returning from my room after a club meeting or something, I’d pass someone in the hallway, we’d start talking, then a couple other people would hear us talking, and they’d join us and eventually there’d be like 10 people in the hallway chatting about whatever.
For the introverts, I’d say that it is still fairly easy to make friends the first couple weeks of classes because there are so many events going on to bring people together as well as clubs are in full recruitment mode which is always a great place to make connections with people that have common interests. In engineering, the first-year class Cornerstone also does a really good job of having us all get to know each other and create connections. We do three projects throughout the year, and I’ve developed some really good friendships just from the amount of time that we have to be working together on the projects. Below is my first Cornerstone group where we made a lawn game to be accommodating for people in wheelchairs.
Throughout all of it even if you don’t love the first group of people that you meet, you’ll be totally fine meeting new people and shifting your group. I personally am not one to stick to one friend group but am more of a “floater” and I’ve found that to be a really easy way to socialize. Even after the first month of school, I still was making new friends just from studying in a common room and having random conversations with other people around. Or if you like some weekly show like the Bachelor or Survivor, there’s normally other people around who want to watch it and weekly watch parties can be huge. I have definitely learned that you are not obligated to hang out with people you don’t want to because there are so many amazing people around that you don’t need to spend your time around people you don’t vibe with. That being said like 95% of people on campus are super cool so you can’t go wrong most of the time.
Something that I wish I was slightly more conscious of during my first year was keeping in touch with friends from high school. Unless your high school was straight up not a good time, it’s always nice to keep in touch with one or two people outside of the Northeastern bubble even if it’s just to remind yourself that the world does not exclusively exist within campus bounds. Sometimes it can feel like campus is everything which can be good in moderation. I found that it really helped to talk to non-Northeastern people if even just to get into a different headspace for a bit. Plus, it also makes returning home for breaks less awkward. Of course, also don’t be completely encompassed by your old life because then that’s difficult to enjoy college because it really is something to take advantage of.
Now that I am primarily at home (thank youuuu global pandemic), it is definitely very different socially than what I’m used to, but I still manage to keep in touch with my friends. I like to think it is similar to what it would be like if I was on coop to a degree. Not having daily communication with my friends has been a bit of an adjustment, but I just try to remind myself that talking to someone 365 days in a row is unrealistic anyway. Most of the times when I talk to my friends it ranges from simple things like sending a TikTok or a meme to doing mental health check ins or just replying to snapchat stories. It will be interesting when I’m actually on coop to see how it differs, but hopefully for my first one I’ll be in Boston and able to actually see my friends after the good ole 9 to 5.