I will be honest with you, most students struggle with making friends on their first day or orientation. If you are more of an introvert, it may be a bit challenging. You feel your heart pounding already? Well, it’s normal to be nervous. If you play your cards right, you will overcome this stage of university real fast. So, wanna give it a shot?
My Life Story
Back home, most would consider me as a shy person. I came to Malaysia alone. Even though I was proficient in English. I feared to be misunderstood or appear like a dumb girl. My goal was to be independent and self- sufficient here. With this in mind I persisted. I arrived here a few days after orientation, luckily my roommate had made a couple friends on her first day, which automatically qualified as mine too. When I began my classes I also made a couple friends.
There is nothing more effective than pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone. As much as your loved ones may provide their support, you are the one who hold the final decision. If you are desperate enough to make friends in university, let’s move on.
Most of my interaction with strangers were when I tried to navigate through campus. The person would point me in the direction I am supposed to follow, I would say, ‘Thanks’, they would reply, ‘you’re welcome, and we would part ways with a smile. This short interaction low-key boosted my confidence. ‘I can do this,’ I told myself. Say ‘Hi’ to people you come across as you navigate across campus. Hearing your own voice and the slightest reaction from the person will make you feel less nervous.
The first day of class is usually filled in with course briefing from the lecturer. It may sound dragging, but do not miss anything. This is an opportunity to familiarize with the particular course, your lecturer and your new course mates. Get to classes early and interact with those present, let people know about you (well, the stuff worth knowing about you.)
In Malaysia, eating is a cultural and social opportunity. Lunch or dinner, that’s when you get to make friends. So grab your food, and make a conversation. Everyone around you on the first day of orientation is in the same boat as you, thus they are new students in an unfamiliar environment who just want to get to know or make friends as well.
As the semester progresses, you will make meaningful friendships with at least one or two people. And frankly, that is more than enough. It may seem intimidating at first if you are a shy person. But you will need to leave your comfort zone.
Most importantly, do not expect everyone you approach to be your friend. Some will remain acquaintances or familiar faces in the crowd and that is absolutely fine. High expectations on your first university days may leave you discouraged for the rest of the semester.
For the current students things do not always go as one might like, at times we find ourselves looking for new friends all over again. Just keep going.