I think one of the most scary things about college is the fact that, in a way, you have to go through the beginning of high school all over again. You have to enter a completely new environment filled with strangers and try to figure everybody out, form new friendships, and learn how to operate on your own in a place that you’re not used to. I remember freshman year of high school when you had to get to know people in addition to putting yourself out there to others, things I’ll have to do come fall when I start my freshman year of college.
You have to walk the fine line of being outgoing but not coming on too strong. You want to come across as laid back but not completely careless. You want to convey some level of sophistication, but not look like a snob. I’ll be meeting a slew of new people and I won’t know right away what, if anything, we have in common. But I’ll have to find a way to keep the conversation moving, avoiding awkward pauses at all costs.
Sometimes I think this social change-up is a challenge particularly difficult for kids my age. Technology has given us devices, especially cell phones, that allow us to ‘check out’ of the real world at any moment. Sitting around people we don’t know that well, we’ve always had the option of texting or going on the internet via a cellphone instead of trying to have a conversation with the people around us. Maybe that’s made us a bit less used to reaching out of our comfort zone and starting interactions with strangers. But like it or not, this fall all those attending their first year of college of will have to bite the bullet and find a way to navigate a completely new social scene. Hopefully, considering we’re four years more mature, it’s a little easier of a transition than the one to high school!