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March 26, 2024 by

Before I came to Cedarville, my older brother told me that he had met his college best friends during his first day on campus. When it was my turn to pack up and move to Ohio, I found myself anxiously expecting to meet my lifelong best friends within the first week of college, if not on the first day. I had heard countless stories about people immediately bonding with their roommates and hallmates, and I naively assumed that I would be no exception. 

You can probably imagine my sadness and disappointment when a full week on campus came and went, and I still had yet to make a solid friend. People were kind, but I hadn’t hit it off with anyone yet. My roommate and I got along well. However, she was a junior, so I didn’t have a buddy for all of the freshman activities. My residence hall often felt like a ghost town because we had a number of student-athletes who spent most of their time with their teams. 

During those first few weeks, I wandered around to classes and meals, wondering if I would ever make a friend at college. I was constantly surrounded by other people, but it seemed that everyone else had already found their friends and I had missed my opportunity. My parents received many tearful phone calls from me as I navigated this loneliness, and I wondered if I had made the wrong decision by coming to Cedarville. 

Fast forward a couple weeks, and I found myself surrounded by a small group of girls who became the friends I had prayed for. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment where everything changed, and it took time and effort to find my community. However, I can say with certainty that the friendships I found were orchestrated by God. I understand the loneliness that can come as you start college. With that in mind, here is some encouragement and advice for finding friends during your freshman year. 

  1. Keep Introducing Yourself to People

To survive the start of college, you have to become an extrovert for a short time. The first few weeks of school are filled with countless activities and opportunities to meet new people, and I am a strong advocate for taking advantage of all those opportunities, whether you’re looking to meet new people or even if you think you have already found your best friends. 

As you wait in line for meals or games or events, introduce yourself to those around you. Be brave. If you hit it off with people, even just a little bit, ask for their numbers so you can text them if you’re looking for someone to grab a meal with or sit with in chapel. If you recognize someone you met earlier in the day or week, walk up and ask to join them. It can be intimidating, but people are often friendlier than you expect. 

I met some of my closest friends when I saw them eating lunch together. I had been introduced to one of them earlier in the week, and I decided to work up the courage to ask to sit with them. Next thing I knew, these girls warmly welcomed me into their group of friends. 

  1. Keep Your Door Open

I cannot stress this enough: if your dorm room does not already have a brick in it, buy a brick, decorate it, and use it to prop your door open. People are far more likely to stop by, introduce themselves, and share a conversation if your door is open. If you’re feeling extra courageous, play some music and say “hi” to people as they walk by. The people in your dorm are the people that you will probably interact with the most, and an open door invites people to strike up conversations that could lead to unexpected friendships. Chances are, if you leave your door open, others will start to leave their doors open too. 

  1. Study in Common Spaces

For the lonely college student, it can be tempting to isolate yourself. However, hiding in your room is a rather ineffective strategy for meeting new people. If you’re hesitant to initiate conversations with strangers, put yourself in places where friendly strangers can initiate conversations with you. Do your homework in the library, the student center, academic buildings, or outdoor common spaces. You may not end up meeting people at first, but placing yourself in spaces with other people can ease loneliness, and you never know who you might end up connecting with. 

  1. Be Patient

For some college students, making friends will be easy. You’ll meet your people right away in your dorm, in your activities, and in your classes. But for others, making friends may prove to be more difficult than you expect. It may take time. You may wrestle with loneliness for a while. 

The reality is that starting college is a huge adjustment. You’re figuring out life away from home, you’re in a new place, and you’re surrounded by tons of new people. It can be overwhelming, but I encourage you to be patient. Finding community is an important aspect of college, and it will come with time.  

Keep putting yourself out there, but also trust that God has led you to Cedarville for a reason and will provide for you. The Cedarville community is amazing. There are tons of incredible people here who can’t wait to encourage you and do life with you. Trust that God will use this time to shape you and grow you in powerful ways as you pursue Him. 

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