Determined to make class friends
My freshman year of college was terrifying. Although a few students who graduated from my high school were also attending the University of Akron, none of them were in my freshman year classes. But, no matter how nervous I was to be in a class where I knew no one, I was determined to meet new people.
After enrolling in all my classes, purchasing/renting some of my textbooks, that first Monday of school finally came. I waited at the door full of anxiety and thinking: if I miss class who’s going to fill me in on what was covered? If I lose an assignment who’s going to have a copy for me to make? And if I have a question about the topic being discussed, who am I going to ask so I don’t look like a fool in front of the entire class? I needed to make some class friends.
Finding the right place to sit
The hardest part of my first day was trying to find a seat in each of my classrooms. All day I tried to decipher who would be friendly enough to sit next to and where exactly in the classroom to sit. This depended on the class. If I was in a class where I felt pretty confident about the material, I tended to sit in the back, leaving room for students who needed to be more attentive in the front rows. If it was a class where I needed to focus and pay more attention, I sat closer to the front of the room. If I wasn’t sure about the class, I just sat in the middle – I could always adjust my seat later on.
Different kinds of students tended to sit in the different seating locations. Students who sat closer to the professor tended to be more involved and cared a lot about the course material. Students who sat in the back of the classroom were often tardy and didn’t seem to care very much about the course material. I also used this information to determine where to sit.
Breaking the ice
I had had planned out exactly what to say to the students sitting next to me: “what’s your major?”, “where are you from?”, etc., but as soon as I sat down and actually got to introduce myself to my surrounding peers, conversation just flowed freely and unstructured. Before the class was even over, I had emails of surrounding students in case of missed classes, confusing homework, and future project buddies. I’m not saying it’s super easy and everyone is open, you just need to be willing to communicate and reach out to others. Someone in your class will want to exchange emails or even phone numbers to help with contact throughout the class.
The benefits of class friends
Although, it can be awkward talking to strangers at the beginning of a new semester, I think it is necessary. Some of these strangers can morph into both short-term friends and long-term friends. Meeting people in class can come in handy when you need to get caught up on material or you have questions stirring in your head. These students can be potential project partners or part of a study group for exams. I encourage everyone to get to know at least one person in each of their classes. Class friends can make your freshman year a lot more enjoyable and successful!