Chances are you did not just get back from your two-day college orientation one day ago. But I have.
The first day was a downward spiral for me, progressively becoming more obnoxious and worrisome, and I retreated into my shell. I tried reminding myself of my own advice, live boundless, but I couldn’t take it.
Then, amidst a bombastic late-night dance party, an orientation leader (OL) invited me outside for a game of beanbag toss and everything changed…
Upon conversing with the OL, hesitantly at first, I learned a very important life lesson: Friends are everywhere if only one opens their heart to them.
At first, I gave the OL nothing. I only spoke in response to her questions and limited my answers to a few words. But I yearned to get to know somebody new, so I dropped my facade and spoke with her openly. To my delight, I found out that she was in the exact same boat as me last year: terrified freshman that knew nobody and seemingly carried the weight, and accompanying stress, of a world on her shoulders.
Looking back, she remarked, she wishes she could tell her ‘freshman self’ to calm down because everything would work out for her in the end.
When I walked to my dorm that evening, the OL introduced me to another soon-to-be-friend. Soon-to-be meaning in the space of two minutes. He seemed to have prepared an entire stand-up comedy segment and rapidly began likening himself to a lichen. I couldn’t say a word because I was laughing the whole way back. However, if i could speak, I would have thanked him for comforting me that night even though we didn’t know anything but each other’s names.
This brings me to a point that another OL brought up multiple times: ‘You can make friends without making memories, but you can’t make memories without making friends.’