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Dear Frosh: I wish I expanded my social circle

Jenna Johnson

Today's advice for college freshmen is from Jessica Li, a recent Boston University graduate.

I wish I had known to expand my horizons in making friends.

Jessica_Li.JPGLeaving home and a familiar high school social circle throws you into a strange new world equally daunting and exciting for a wide-eyed freshman trying to carve out a niche at a large university. Pressured to meet people with a plethora of forced bonding events, I actually shrunk back and attached myself to my roommate. We expanded to include two other girls on our floor, and by mid-October, I thought I had found my core group for the rest of college.

Although I am still good friends with my freshman year roommate, the foursome I imaged would continue until graduation quickly fizzled sophomore year as people moved into different living situations. As I sat eating alone in the dining hall, I felt like I was starting school all over again. I even missed the silly outings and games pushing me into making friends.

After taking some time to reevaluate, I decided to go through sorority recruitment the following semester and take myself out of my comfort zone. Being in greek life allowed me to see the importance of joining a group and going beyond the dorms to find friends. Even though I heard the words 'get involved' reiterated hundreds of times during orientation, I never paid attention and just became comfortable. Don't make that mistake!

Try to take advantage of the first year and truly discover your own personality by doing everything and meeting all kinds of people to figure out the right match. Not to say you can't stumble upon a great life-long friend within a few days, but don't become complacent and end up hiding out in your room on the weekend. College goes fast, so enjoy it and get out there.

What do you wish you had known as a freshman? E-mail me your short essay (less than 300 words) and it might be featured on the blog. Read previous essays here.

Campus Overload is a daily must-read for all college students. Make sure to bookmark http://washingtonpost.com/campus-overload. You can also follow me on Twitter and fan Campus Overload on Facebook.

By Jenna Johnson  |  September 9, 2010; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  College 101  | Tags: Boston University, Dear Frosh  
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