Ask Pawan: I’m almost done my first year, but still feel friendless

As March rolls into UBC, there’s one thought at the forefront of many students’ minds. We’re so close to the end of the semester, with only four weeks of class left! You’ve got this in the bag.

In case you don’t feel like you have this in the bag, you can always submit questions here and I will do my best to give you the advice you may need.

“Dear Pawan,

I’m almost done first year, but I haven’t made any real friends yet and I feel like I wasted my first year sitting in my dorm room and watching other people have the ‘first year experience.’ How can I be more outgoing?”

Expectations of your first year are something of a blessing and a curse: they manage to give you an unending amount of hype for the school year to start but, once it does, you can feel that enthusiasm die off quicker than your tolerance for UBC’s weird squirrels.

It can seem like the main job of any good college movie is to convince you that first year is full of gorgeous people whose main purpose is to do keg stands and become your best friend — I’m looking at you, Neighbors.

While UBC is full of good looking people and it isn’t that hard to find a decent keg and a hose, those expectations are an example of things you shouldn’t put pressure on yourself to do — just because they’re part of the “wild first year” starter pack.

Your first year is a fantastic time to experiment with your interests in whatever ways you’re comfortable with: from joining various clubs to becoming UBC’s next Olympian, first year is a testing ground for just about anything. If you’re able to take that first big step and successfully come out of your shell, it becomes that much easier to interact with the people that you share these newly discovered interests with.

Sharing niche interests with someone is a great way to kickstart a friendship — and we’re lucky enough to have UBC and the AMS host a huge number of clubs, coalitions and committees on campus, not to mention the world of hobby groups living beyond University Boulevard.

Being outgoing and socializing is a universal struggle, but it isn’t made any easier by adding a layer of unrealistic expectation on top of it, so try to be more conscious of the metrics you’re judging yourself against. It’s perfectly normal to want to have a stereotypical first year experience and UBC definitely has all the tools to make it so. But it’s helpful to understand your expectations and recognize their likelihood so you aren’t setting yourself up for disappointment and souring your first year experience by not hitting those idealized goals.

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