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Dr. Irene S. Levine Headshot

College Friendships 101: Getting Through the First Semester

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Don't expect too much too soon.


Hi Irene,

I'm a freshman at a large, public university this year and I've been in school for almost two months now. My dorm is very small---and sororities aren't my thing---but I have joined many different clubs.

I've been very social and outgoing around people that I've met and I'm a very approachable person. However, I don't feel like I'm forming the close relationships or finding a circle of friends that I had in high school. I went to a very small K-12 school, so I knew most of my class for 6 or more years. Now, it feels like everyone already has their group of best friends or they have friends from high school.

I love meeting new people, but sometimes these people seem cold or aren't talkative. Also, the friends I've clicked with, at least a little bit, have other activities or friends they can be with. I know these friendships take time, but I feel isolated and I'm having anxiety that I won't find good friends during the 4 years I'm in college. I feel like I'm the only person getting these feelings right now. Any advice or suggestions?

Signed, Alison


Hi Alison,

Moving from a small school where you knew everyone for many years to a large, anonymous university campus with thousands of students is a big change that requires a period of adjustment.

Although it may not appear that way, many other freshmen are likely to be in the same boat as you. Even those who came to college with their high school friends, or who immediately bonded with new people they met, will be shedding some of those friendships as they begin to change and are shaped by their college experiences.

Give yourself some time. Remember that this is only your first semester. You will have the opportunity to meet many different kinds of people - in your dorm, in classes, in the student union, in clubs, etc. Since you are social and outgoing, there is no reason for you to feel anxious about making friends. Your past is the best predictor of your future.

With the combination of social and academic pressures, it's normal to feel very stressed during the first year of college. Please write me at the end of the semester and tell me whether things are better for you. I suspect they will be!

Warm regards, Irene

Other posts on The Friendship Blog about college friendships:
  • The Challenges of Making Friends on a Large Campus
  • Guest Post: Meet the Roommate
  • Guest Post: Making Friends at College 101
  • College Friendships: A Case of Easy Come, Easy Go?
  • An interview with the Friendship Doctor on college friendships