Other roommate locked roommate’s boyfriend out accidentally. I’m not cackling quietly in my room.
Baby huskies wouldn’t stop fighting over a toy until mommy comes to stop them
I believe in reaffirming my friends’ little actions. You wrote that three page paper? Good job! You went out and did some grocery shopping? Good work, I’m so proud. You worked out for the second time this week? I’m so glad you’re doing something for you.
Because I know how hard it is sometimes to even get the motivation going in order to do some simple things, and it’s nice to hear that your tiny little accomplishment is being recognized.
Chris Evans making his Ice Bucket Challenge very much worth the wait
Trying to prove a point to someone who said to me “why do you freak out about meeting a Broadway actor they are not “famous”
If I have any advice for the people starting college or university this week, it’s this:
A lot of kids who struggled socially in high school- dealing with bullying, ostracization, isolation, and loneliness- got themselves through with the thought that “university will be better.” Often this is the line their parents feed them, because high school can be a bleak, bleak place, and if you sell university as “more of the same shit,” no student will feel the drive to keep pushing forward. So university gets built up in your mind as this fantastic mecca of acceptance and love where you will instantly fall in with a group of people who share all your interests and invite you everywhere and you will have a million friends and the days of sitting alone at lunch will seem like a distant, fading dream,
I get why this myth persists, because, as I said, high school is brutal if you struggle with being social. But in the long run, it’s damaging. I remember when I got to university, I was SO EXCITED, because I thought I would finally find “my people.” I waited a week. Then two weeks. Nothing happened. By the end of that semester, I was making sobbing, inarticulate phone calls home to my mom because she’d PROMISED university would be better, what HAPPENED?
The plain fact is this: if you had trouble finding and making friends in high school, that’s going to carry over to university, because you’ve never learned how to make friends. Those of us who were bullied learned strategies for avoidance and self-defence; we never learned how to say “hey, you want to go out for coffee?” or “I heard the Barenaked Ladies are playing in Kitchener; want to go?” We have no training for maintaining friendships; we have a long history of hiding in empty classrooms, the library, anywhere where the crush of unfriendly faces wouldn’t follow us. And while that got us safely out of our teen years, it’s not a productive strategy for a successful, outgoing adulthood. That’s not your fault. You weren’t prepared. You left high school with a brain full of book learning, but very little in the way of socialization. There are plenty of programs created to help children with learning disabilities, but those whose disabilities extend to their social life (as mine did and does) rarely have the opportunity to practice their skills. (Not that it would have done much good; in my case, I’d reached tenth grade with a well-cultivated hatred for my peers and their seemingly inexplicable demands for “correct” social behaviour, and I wouldn’t have modified my social actions even if I did have a teacher.)
I don’t have a neat ending to this story, or a magic pill that will make you a social butterfly by the time orientation is over. I can only tell you what eventually worked for me, after I spent my first two years hiding out in my room and crying because I hadn’t yet found My People:
- Join clubs. I know this sounds like incredibly generic advice, but it gets repeated often because it’s true. More importantly don’t drop out because you didn’t immediately make friends. I know the temptation is to say “well this isn’t working” after two meetings because nothing in your life has prepared you for slowly working towards friendship. But it doesn’t always come quickly or easily, and if you drop out right away, you give up on any chance that things will change.
- Do not go home every weekend. This piece of advice is really only for those of you whose parents live close enough to your university that you can afford to spend weekends at their place. This is a bad idea. All it accomplishes is a retreat to your den of safety, and while it feels cozy and warm, it’s not helping you acclimate to your new environment.
- Make friends with your professors. Some professors will be real assholes, but others will be like your favourite teacher from high school- that person who was always happy to chat with you after class and didn’t mind you putting your hand up every five minutes. Not only will that help you put down roots on campus, they’ll probably have university activities to suggest for you. Like “hey, you seem interested in archaeology- have you looked into joining the Classics Society?”
- Do not spent all your time on the internet. I know it’s comforting (see above re: returning to your den) but you are not going to meet locals by browsing tumblr.
- Get out and wander around town. You will get lost at some point. That’s okay. The locals are used to it. Keep a bus map in your backpack and wander anyway.
- If, like me, your social inexperience is due in part to a learning disability (*ASD fistbump*) seek out disability clubs/organizations on campus. Yes, they exist, and they’re a good resource.
Hey guys, I wrote a post about the high school/university transition for those of us who hated high school.