Living college unbounded: Advice on not living life by the rule book

When you are about to go to college, one of the main things people tell you is that you are going to make friends that you will have for the rest of your life. The excitement of moving to a new place and being surrounded by people that are all around the same age is an amazing experience that only happens once in a lifetime. For some, college is filled with parties, late-night dinners with friends, crazy weekend stories and lifelong memories. For others, this is not the case. Some people don’t really go out to parties; maybe they don’t have a lot of friends or find they are unable to branch out and talk to other people besides the two or three buddies that they do have.

Some are shy and just can’t find their niche. This is totally fine; I don’t think you need have a ton of friends or go out every weekend to have an amazing college experience.

College is what you make it – if you spend most of your time alone or in the library and you are content with that, then that is absolutely okay. College is about working on yourself; it’s about improving who you are. I also believe it is mentally healthy to be able to just sit with yourself and be “in your head.” Now I’m not saying it’s okay to sit in the corner and have long conversations with an imaginary friend, but I myself enjoy the occasional single lunch, just having music as my company.

Being by yourself isn’t weird or sad – it’s you being able to sit with just your thoughts. The idea of doing just that scares many. On the other hand, if you find yourself stuck at home on a Saturday night with a bottle of tequila and the strong urge to go out and get your “frat” on, then go for it. I know it’s hard to go places alone, but why not go to the Inn Between Tavern and dance the night away? Or if you are in a sport or club, call up some acquaintances and break some boundaries.

College is the time to do things that you wouldn’t normally do. Get out of your comfort zone and get out there; just be yourself and people will come to you. If you are a junior or senior and still feel like you haven’t met people that you will be friends with for the rest of your life that’s okay, too.

It’s never too late to join a sport, club or student organization. Studying abroad is also an amazing way to meet new people. Just remember that there is no college rulebook that states you have to make lifelong friends in college. Some people are fortunate enough to meet people that they really click with, but there is no guarantee that those people will stay such good friends for the rest of their lives.

People change and so will you. Just because you didn’t find a lifelong friend in college doesn’t mean you will never find one. They are out there, you just have to be patient and look for them.

College isn’t the end of your life; it’s just the beginning, so relax. Friends, adventures and romantic partners will come with time. Just know that no matter what happens or how you are feeling now, it gets better.