New year, new classes — but don’t drop old friends

Anika Sultana | Mercury Staff


New semesters are exciting because they offer one of the most enriching experiences campus life has to offer: new social opportunities, which are important in not just your growth as a student but as a person. But while it might be a “new year, new you,” don’t forget to maintain your budding friendships from previous semesters.

Our campus’s social life is unorthodox compared to other colleges in Texas. Without a football team or other large social events bringing together the entire student body, it’s easy to feel walled off from your peers, and like it’s impossible to bring those walls down. And with that mindset, college can feel like being a faceless body in the crowd – singular and lonely. While it is normal to experience loneliness during a transitional period in life, attending a college with a strained social life doesn’t help. And refusing to fight that loneliness could be damaging to your overall well-being — physically, emotionally, and mentally, which can affect aspects of your life from motivation and focus to an increased risk of heart disease.

This is why it’s imperative not just to connect with other people, but also to turn fleeting moments into lasting friendships. While you may not feel a connection with all 30,000 students here, you may find that bond with 10.

And you won’t find those 10 people by talking to them for three months and then never again. Unless, if fate allows, the both of you have a class together the following semester. What you will find instead is a sense of superficiality in the relationships you make here. While you may find a good time in talking about a shared class or studying together, that might not always fulfill your social needs. Close emotional connections, often formed from personal conversations and hours spent together, are what some Comets are vocal about lacking. And the four years of undergrad can be a great place to find the friends you’ll have for the rest of your life. That is, if you put the work in.

Not every single person you meet in college is destined to be your best friend for all of eternity. And that’s okay! You don’t have to drop imperfect friendships, because it’s important to have a variety of friends who can support you in a multitude of ways. While having one best friend is great, it’s important to have friends that aren’t equally close to you. But don’t feel that every single person you meet is also meant to be a friend in the first place. Growing apart from people is natural, and a part of the human experience.

While you might believe that you’re one of those people who thrive on making friends periodically or circumstantially, college is one of the last environments you can make friends through circumstance. People who make friends under circumstance tend to feel more isolated after they graduate, so having the skill to maintain and rekindle old connections is vital to addressing loneliness.

The best plan of action to achieve a well-rounded college experience is to maintain your old relationships by checking in on them once in a while. It doesn’t have to be a dramatic, long-winded text proclaiming how much you’ve missed them and how you’ve longed for their company. But if that’s your thing, then go for it. For me, it’s as simple as replying to an Instagram story and letting conversation ebb and flow, or offering or inviting someone to get lunch at the Student Union.

Making friends is one of the most enriching experiences college has to offer, and the main thing you’ll carry into your future aside from your education. So take some time out of your day to reach out to a friend from a class last semester.


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