Starting college: I’m lost!

This letter writer is scared about starting college life and making friends with people. Our elder has some helpful tips: Make eye contact, show interest, and don’t forget to smile.


Dear EWC

I’m kind of a little sad today since I’m starting my college life in a few months and I’m still kind of lost. I feel so tired my anxiety is killing me. I don’t know how to make friends and interact with people. I’m such an introverted person. I have a lot of insecurities, like my body shape, my face and my height. I’m so scared and conscious. Please help me embrace who I am and be confident.


GrannyJ replies

It is completely normal to be nervous about going to college, and having to meet new people, and being sad about leaving behind those high school days where everything was familiar. I know things will be particularly hard for you as an introvert. Keep in mind, though, that you will not be the only new student there who is anxious and nervous about meeting new people. There will be plenty of other new students who won’t know anyone there, and would probably really like to make friends. 

Remember that most of the people there will not know you, so here is a chance to put your best foot forward and present yourself to people as you would like for them to see you. Make an effort to be friendly, courteous and helpful. When you are around people, try to make eye contact and smile. A smile is very attractive on anyone, and studies show that others are drawn to people who smile at them. When you meet people, show interest in them. Ask questions about where they are from, what kind of activities and hobbies they like, and so on. 

Once you get settled into your classes, it may help you to join some clubs, or other extra-curricular activities, and maybe get involved in some on-campus volunteer work. Working alongside others and sharing common activities and goals helps do some of the work of having to get acquainted. 

As far as your appearance is concerned, college kids are a little more mature than high schoolers, and maybe less preoccupied with such things as physical appearance, following the latest fashion trends, etc. You are who you are meant to be, and can’t really change things like your height, body or face shape. However, you can take good care of your health, which will give you an attractive glow, and always practice good grooming and hygiene. Remember, also, a friendly, pleasant personality immediately makes you more attractive.

Another thing is to try not to allow yourself to “look at the big picture”, but, instead, take just one day at a time. At the beginning of each day of school tell yourself you are going to have a good day. Set some goals for that day. For example, “today I’m going to say hello to five people”, or “today I will look for a club to join”. If you happen to have a bad day, don’t dwell on it. Put it behind you and move forward. You might also see if your particular school has counselors. Maybe having an objective outsider to confide in if you are feeling insecure will be helpful. 

Lastly, being social sometimes takes practice. Some people are very good at making conversation with strangers, but others find it excruciating, or almost impossible. I suggest going to YouTube and look for videos on ‘how to make small-talk if you are an introvert’. There are many variations, but the main thing is learning some things to say when you meet people so that you don’t feel so awkward trying to converse.

If you give it a chance, you may find that people actually like you. Don’t shut things down with self-doubt before you even get started. Remember, there will be other students there that need a friend, and you can be that friend. Just keep yourself open to the possibility.

I hope my advice will be helpful to you, and I wish you all the best with school. Please write again if you need more advice, and consider telling others about our service. Take care, and good luck!

Article #: 497673
Category: Self-Improvement

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