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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Bodies » Finding a place in a new city

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Author Topic: Finding a place in a new city
Atonement
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 42492

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As you guys have probably seen, I'd been really looking forward to going away for college. While that was mostly for educational reasons and wanting to get out of my parent's house, I was looking forward to moving here so I could FINALLY have a social life.

That is something I've never had the opportunity to do. In high school I was very quiet and my parents were really strict. During the 3.5 years that I lived with my parents, worked, and went to a community college, I was unable to meet people because of similar limitations.

However, I now live in a college town with 50,000 students. I'm able to take a break from working, and I'm going to one of the biggest colleges in the state.

And I'm still having trouble meeting people. My classes are huge, ranging from 50-250 people in each class. So, it's pretty much impossible to meet people there.

My roommates seem really nice, but all they ever want to do is watch reality TV (which I hate). I mentioned to one of my roommates that I'd like to go out tonight, and she said she's let me know if she was doing anything, but didn't really seem too interested.

I've lived here almost 2 weeks, and have been in school for a week. I haven't made a single friend or been anywhere besides school or the grocery store. I know that there HAS to be things to do here, but I don't feel comfortable going to a night club or anything by myself.

Last Sunday I tried going to a Unitarian Universalist church. While I liked the philosophy itself, there wasn't a single member under 50. I felt really uncomfortable.

I'm joining a premedical club that meets next week,so there's a chance I could meet people there, but I'm starting to feel a little discouraged. A part of me kind of expected that I was automatically going to come here and end up with a vibrant social life, but it's been pretty lonely so far.

I don't want to live the rest of my life like this, always the person who hangs out on the computer on the weekends and eats lunch alone. But this is always how it's been for me, and I really want to make some changes.

What can I do?

Posts: 444 | From: United States | Registered: Apr 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robin Lee
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First of all, be patient with yourself. As one of my mentors said to me when I started university "Rome wasn't built in a day". I don't share this as a platitude, but a very real reminder that things don't just happen automatically. It would be great if people knew that this terrific person named Atonement was coming to their college and their town, but sadly, they don't know it.

So, what do you do? You mentioned that you don't want to go to nightclubs. Is that more about you not wanting to go by yourself, or more about it not being your scene?
?

What kind of socializing do you want to do? Do you want to have study partners? Or people to go out with and be crazy? Or a few friends who enjoy a good meal out and a browse through a bookstore?

And a step before that...I know it helped me a lot to think about it as going out aand meeting people, not going out and making friends. The more people you meet, the more possibilities for friendship to develop and the more you'll figure out what you want out of friendship.

College is touted as this great place for socializing...and it is. But it can also be a very isolating place. .

So, keep thinking about how you'd like to meet people, what kinds of friendships you want, and keep exploring the town too. You've just moved to a new place, so don't expect yourself to have everything figured out all at once. okay? [Smile]

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Robin

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Atonement
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I mainly don't want to go to the nightclubs/parties because I just don't feel comfortable just showing up alone.

I think that I'd like to have friends kind of across the spectrum. While I'm not exactly a wild party person, I would like to give going out and going to parties a try. But I certainly would like study partners and friends like that as well. I also wouldn't mind getting into something sexual and/or romantic.

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eryn_smiles
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I can offer a couple of ideas from my own experience at university [Smile] . Although your classes are huge, do you have smaller tutorial groups that you meet with regularly? They can be good to meet people. You mentioned about your roommates- are you living in a hostel or dorm? I found that the dining hall and floor common rooms were often a good time to chat with others. My hostel also used to pair up people studying the same courses during orientation week so we could all get lost together finding lecture theatres!

Good on you for joining that premedical club and going along to the church. Do you have something along the lines of a clubs orientation week at your college? You may find there are other clubs/groups you are interested in. For example, you may enjoy the campus Christian fellowship or medical missions groups if you liked the UU church.

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"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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Atonement
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I'm actually living in an off campus student apartment. While I really love the space and stuff, I'm not sure if that was the best idea for meeting people.

I am going to this supplemental instruction thing tomorrow evening for Organic Chemistry, which I think is probably like what you're talking about. I'm thinking of finding a tutoring group as well, but they haven't announced the times/places yet.

I do eat on campus a lot, though. I've eaten there every class day for the last week and didn't meet anyone. Everyone there seems to either group/pair off or eat alone. Maybe I shouldn't be, but I just feel to awkward to approach a random person like that.

I'm not too interested in joining any of the religious groups, because the ones offered are all either Christian or Atheist/Agnostic, and I am not exactly either of those. I am open to joining more things, but looking at the school website, I don't really see anything else that interests me.

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skiesofgreen
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If you're in the sciences do you have any labs with your courses? They tend to be smaller (at least at my university) and can be a good chance to meet people. For us Artsies the tutorials/discussion tend to be an equivalent. Also going to supplemental instruction sounds like a good idea (both academically and for meeting people).

When it comes to clubs, I speak as a current university student and say just try a bunch out. Find a few that even mildly spark your interest and go to a meeting one night. Worst comes to worst it might be a waste of an hour but you might find yourself pleasantly surprised or meet someone new.

Another idea might be seeing if your university offers any rec teams or fitness classes (if that's the sort of thing you're interested in). Mine offers anything from yoga, to belly dancing, to rowing clubs. And while it's a good way to keep in shape it can also be a place where you start seeing consistant faces and can get to know people.

Finally though I'd say the biggest thing to keep in mind in all of this is that getting into a new city and creating a new friend group can take time. I go to University near home, still live there in fact, but even for me it took a couple months before I really started to form friendships. I think, especially when you don't live on campus and you go to a school with a large population, meeting people can be a bit daunting and take a bit of time. But that doesn't mean it's not going to happen. Even though I was into my second month before I really started finding people I meshed with I'm now in my fourth year and have a great group of friends. So while it can seem a bit trying at first don't get discouraged. An adjusting period is totally normal and meeting people just isn't often one of those things that happens over night.

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Atonement
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I do have a lab for my organic chemistry course, and the class is significantly smaller than my others. I've only been to that class once so far, though.

I have actually been trying REALLY hard to get into a yoga class, but since i was a transfer student and had to register late, there's no openings. I'm going to keep trying to get in, though. If not, I will take one next semester.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Cosign with skiesofgreen there. While I totally get how much this might feel like a buzzkill, especially given your wait for this kind of freedom and change of environment, I'd also say that it can typically take longer than a few weeks to make friends any time we move.

There are some great ideas here. I'd add in hanging out at places like local small coffeeshops: places you can bring a book, notebook or laptop and work on things but where, unlike in a library, people can be chatty if they want. When you frequent places like that often, you'll find other people who do as well, and in time, striking up conversation with them can feel really naturla.

Since you liked the UU church, you might also ask someone there for connections to any UU youth or college groups. Heck, UU does GREAT sex education, so you've some common ground there, too.

I'd also suggest trying to step out of your comfort zone some. For instance, when at lunch, for you to meet anyone new someone is going to have to approach someone, you know? May as well be you. So, maybe you try, once or twice, asking if you can sit at a table with someone or a group. The worst they can do, after all, is say no, right?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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