Advice I Can’t Give

Doing something new is at best exciting, and at worst, terrifying. ‘Is it possible for a situation to be both?’ was the question I was asking myself as I started college last week. The answer is no, and people who say otherwise are liars.

There is something almost absurdly intimidating about sitting in a room full of strangers. Some are like yourself, uncomfortable and alone. Others seem to have already had friends or made them immediately. I learnt something about myself, after spending half an hour in such a situation, awkwardly glancing at the people around me questioning whether I should make conversation, and what I learnt is that I am incredibly anti-social. In the least romantic sense of course; I didn’t sit with my head in a book oblivious to my surroundings, and I wasn’t simply awaiting my opportunity to jump in and meet my people. I just didn’t want to have to make friends.

The fact of the matter is, going somewhere new, somewhere you know you’re going to be every day for the next couple of years, is miles away from what you expect. It’s also not something someone who’s never done it can even imagine. There is not a silence which can be felt more deeply than that among strangers, nor is there a more agonising half an hour than one spent trying to pretend you didn’t forget everyone’s name as soon as they said it. Speaking as someone who is at best socially oblivious, no amount of cajoling and ice breakers can change the fact it’s a total farce. There is no advice to give because there is no way to handle that situation than to just get on with it, and if there were any ‘useful tips’ on making people like you, I am not the person to come to for them.