One of the major topics that students secretly worry about is their social life and social experience in university. It can also be a source of stress if students find they are not reaching their personal ideal amount of time socializing. Students at the University of Toronto often find themselves overwhelmed by their semesters and course load. Some students have mentioned that the only form of social interaction they receive monthly is from group assignments or talking to classmates while in class. But once the day is over, they feel alone. A lack of meaningful friendships can make your university experience difficult.
On large campuses like the University of Toronto, this is easy to imagine.
You may have even experienced this yourself. A campus in the middle of a big city like Toronto is always busy with people, yet so many feel isolated. Some even admit that it is difficult to make real friendships.
With a campus so large, there are many opportunities to make friends. Yes, it can be overwhelming and can make you feel anxious or hesitant. However, you must be willing to reach out and make those connections. Keep in mind that many people feel the same way about their social situations, even if they’re not expressing it. A lot of students report that their existing friendships on campus feel one-sided. For example, students are establishing a lighter form of friendships that serve only one purpose: to have someone to talk to in class. When that class ends, students report that they never talk to that person, or people, again. Or at least not as frequently. This can create feelings of sadness.
Students are looking for a sense of depth in both their educational endeavors and their social experiences. No matter how overwhelming it is in university, pick yourself up. It is important to remember these tips when pursuing meaningful friendships.
1) Remember that there are two types of friends.
There are good friends who will be supportive to you, and will make you a better person. Then, there are bad friends, who will worsen one another and hold you back. Practice using your intuition when it comes to meeting new people. Do not be overly judgemental, but be cautious when trying to establish friendships. If the person is constantly sarcastic (in a bad way), or toxic, these may be major red flags as to what type of person you are talking to. Always be polite, but do not let yourself get too close to negative people, as this will bring you down as well.
2) Remember that good friendships start with a foundation of supportiveness from each person.
With this in mind, start where you think you can meet people who are like-minded to you, as this is the easiest method. For example, you may want to begin within your program of study. Basically, a lot of these people will be your peers for the upcoming years and you will already have a few things in common. You will encounter your peers in classes or at your faculty. Start with friendly small talk and be a good listener.
3) Remember that your goal may be to create long term, meaningful friendships.
With this in mind, you should try to attend your program’s events and make social plans outside of the classroom. This allows everyone to be more relaxed so they can be themselves instead of just talking about the upcoming project deadlines or exams. There are plenty of events and workshops hosted year-round at the University of Toronto. Many of these are just fun events while the workshops may help you build towards your career (which is much more fun if you bring friends along)! Try a workout session with your friends or a games night, if that’s your thing. There is always something going on to foster a good rapport.
4) Be the most authentic version of yourself when meeting friends, and be kind and diplomatic to others as well.
To make authentic friendships, you have to be honest with yourself first!
5) Once you make meaningful friendships, keep up the rapport.
That means: do not lose contact with people once the semester ends, or once the school year ends. At the same time, if the friendship ends, do not let it get you down. You cannot blame yourself all the time if people do not respond or continue the rapport. Sometimes people will do this and it is awful. Sometimes life just moves forward. All you can do is try your best and find the ones who matter most in the ocean of people!
Hopefully, you will remember all of these elements. Most importantly, you are your own best friend, so be sure to look out for yourself above all else.