When you think back to your first year of university you probably think about how the first couple months were the toughest. If you weren't lucky enough to have at least a couple friends to join you from your high school you probably remember eating lunch alone in the library or the student centre pretending to do work so you seem like you're doing something important and can't be bothered. When in reality, it was just hard for you to first step out of your shell and meet new people. If you are a first year reading this, I'm here to tell you that it's completely normal and I believe it's actually a part of the transition into university!
University is a completely different atmosphere from high school. New people, new place, new schedules and to top it all off you have classes of over 500 people. It's no wonder it's so hard for most of us to step out of our shells. Another thing about university is that there aren't many "cliques" like high school, everybody is just trying to find their place.
You first years already have a step above all your peers because you go to UTSC. One of the main reasons I chose to come here was that there aren't a lot of people compared to other big name universities. As you walk through the halls you become familiar with faces of people that are in your program and it becomes like some sort of family.
So, the point of this post? I'm going to give you ways that you can meet new people and hopefully step out of your shell because, let's face it, everyone is looking to meet new people and make new friends during their first year. Just be confident and smile. Some of my suggestions might be obvious but not enough people do them.
Volunteer: This is the one thing that is always and will always be available for you. All you need to do is find some events happening and talk to someone. I can't stress enough how important it is to actually talk to someone instead of just messaging them. It makes a world of a difference.
Join/Start new clubs: This is the easiest way to get your voice heard and get people to notice you.
Stay at school: I've seen too many people go straight home after their classes are done. Now this may be convenient but how are you going to meet new people and find out about opportunities on campus just by being there for classes? I can't tell you how many new people I've met just by going to the gym after class or going to the library to get some work done.
Just smile: Being polite and introducing yourself is probably the easiest and most effective way to meet somebody new. And as long as you're polite about it, you'll definitely feel a lot better at the end of the day.
If you have any other tips for people having troubles stepping out of their shells let me know in the comments section below!
Until next week,
Peace and love.