As I waved goodbye to my family driving out of the parking lot at the end of Getting Started Weekend, a thousand thoughts flooded my mind. What would these first weeks look like? Where would God take me on this brand-new adventure of my life? Would I make friends? I was excited and scared. I’m sure many other freshmen felt the same. At the beginning of your 1,000-day journey, everything looks new and a little overwhelming. One of the most daunting things can be building new friendships. For some people, this comes easy, but for others, it’s a lot harder.
My prayer is that I can encourage you and give you some tips for building friendships that I’ve found helpful over the past few weeks here at Cedarville.
#1: Smile! This is probably one of the easiest things you can do. Smile at your hallmates as you’re going to and from your dorm. Smile at the people you pass on the sidewalk. Smile at the person who’s behind the counter at Chick-fil-A, Tossed, or Chuck’s. I can’t tell you the number of times someone’s smile cheered me up or encouraged me, whether they knew me or not! There have also been many times when my smile lit up someone else’s face. Smiles are contagious, and they open the door to meeting new people!
#2: Be the initiator. There have been a few times (maybe more actually) when I have had an opportunity to get to know one of my classmates or hallmates and have not said anything because I was nervous and ended up waiting to see if they would say something first. Don’t be that person! Your classmate or hallmate may be waiting for you to make the first move. It shows that you care when you reach out and ask them about their day or how their weekend went. Be the person who sets up a hike on the weekend or gets together a group to go play frisbee. Others will appreciate it and want to join you! After a busy day of studying a few weeks ago, my roommate and I invited a group of girls to go get ice cream with us. We ended up having a really good time together and making some fun memories.
#3: Eat with others. This is an excellent way to get to know someone better. Ask the person who sits next to you in class if they want to grab a meal with you before class. Or see if one of your hallmates wants to head to Rinnova and study together for a few hours. Some of the other freshmen girls in my hall and I get dinner together a few times a week. Start a group chat so that everyone can chime in when they would like to go!
#4: Make use of the awkward moments in the bathroom. While you could stand there, avoiding meeting your hallmate’s eyes in the mirror, you could also say hello and ask them how their day went! I’ve made lots of friends in the bathroom as we’re brushing our teeth or getting ready for bed, especially since I regularly see the same people every day. Sometimes my roommate will go to the bathroom to brush her teeth and I won’t see her for 20 minutes because she ran into someone and ended up having a good conversation with them. Break the silence in those awkward moments. You never know what kind of friendships could be formed by simply saying hello to someone in the bathroom!
#5: Pour into others. Sometimes, it’s easy for me to feel lonely and draw back into myself. This first semester can be tough, and I definitely miss my family! If you feel lonely, the best thing you can do is pour yourself out for others. It takes your eyes off yourself, and you will be able to be the help or encouragement that someone else needs. This is advice I learned from a very wise man (my dad), and he was right. Look to Jesus to meet your needs — and He will — and then let His love for you spill out to bless others. Proverbs 11:25 says that the “… one who waters will himself be watered.”
You will make many wonderful friends on this journey, and I’m thrilled to begin these 1,000 days with you! See you out there!
Student Life Blogger
- Year & Major: Sophomore, Communications
- Favorite Bible Verse: Lamentations 3:22-23
- Favorite Class at CU: Communication in Applied Context