At this point, us freshmen have been on Brown’s campus for just over a month. We’ve had to quickly adapt to the stresses of Shopping Period, constantly-disappearing points, and our first midterms (halp). And on top of the anxieties of class, we have to establish a whole new network of friends.
One of the beautiful things about Brown is it tends to admit only a handful of students from each high school, which creates a diverse student body. But that also takes away the safety net of high school friendships. We’re on our own. And for those of us who are not particularly gregarious (i.e. me), the sheer terror of the ice cream social was merely the first hurdle.
The first month felt like a mini version of “Groundhog Day,” where each student had the exact same conversation with people every day about where they were from and what they wanted to concentrate in. It seemed like those conversations would never go beyond that–like there was no way to instantaneously connect with other students and understand each other completely. How could these relationships take shape so quickly?
In short, it’s very hard. Not to be pessimistic, but it’s tough to become best friends in such a short amount of time. It’s completely possible, but not the norm. However, the best friend pairs feel like they are everywhere, and to be honest, not fitting that mold made me feel kinda shitty. Why wasn’t I attracting some super awesome person who would automatically be my BFF? But then I had to step back and remember that I hadn’t (and still haven’t) even come close to meeting a fraction of the 1,600 freshmen, much less a fraction of the entire student body. I was putting way too much pressure on myself to find my “people” a month in. As cliché as this is, the more I relaxed about finding friends, I started to meet more interesting people I wanted to get to know.
The advantage to being one month deep at school is that we are all collectively done with the speed-friending questions of Orientation. We all understand that their time has passed, and we now move on to actual conversation, which is markedly more awkward, but also more rewarding. Now that we all feel like we belong here, instead of feeling like lost kids at a massive summer camp, it’s more natural to make friends instead of desperately clinging to someone who happened to like the same song as you.
As life on College Hill becomes more normal, meeting people becomes less forced, and the friendship comes more naturally. But don’t be afraid to aggressively seek people out! It’s the best feeling when someone asks you to do something, so chances are that person you have a major friend-crush on would be thrilled to hang out. Fellow first-years, the semester is young, and there is still ample time to find your person.