By: Glenne Fucci, IATG ContributorSeptember 8, 2016
In preschool, it was easy. Just showing up to school was enough to gain friends. However, growing up means that preschool class is replaced with a rotating schedule of classes, teachers, books, and fellow students. The day class schedules were released was always one of the most nerve-wracking of days. All of my friends and I would gather together after they were distributed and sit hunched over a cafeteria table willing them to be identical. None of us wanted to be the odd man out - the one who missed out on class with the group and wound up with people we didn’t know. Making friends is hard, and we wanted to make it as easy as possible for ourselves by simply keeping our old friends.
This charade happened every fall. Even in college, my friends and I would breathe a collective sigh of relief if we found ourselves sitting in a class with familiar company. Each year, though, I could count on finding myself sitting amongst a group of relative strangers in at least a few classes. Sure, maybe I had seem them around and possibly even knew a few names, but I didn’t really know them. Sitting in a classroom of strangers causes all kinds of insecurities to come bubbling to the surface. Within minutes of selecting a seat, self-doubt and internal negativities begin to take over.
I always question whether everyone knows that I have no “friends” in the class or whether they think that I am just a friendless loser.
In college, I constantly questioned whether I was smart enough or deserving enough to be in a class surrounded by all these intellectuals. And then I always wondered how many days it would take before I finally got the courage to speak to the kid sitting next to me.
However, over time the first day of class turned into the second and the second into the third, and suddenly it was midway through the semester. By that point I always seemed to have forgotten just how nervous and self-conscious I was on that first day. By then I had usually found a friend, a study buddy, or sometimes both. It always started simply with 'hi'. Then maybe we would ask to copy the other’s notes after a missed class. Maybe we would work together in a group project, and bond over our mutual hatred of the assignment and became good friends because of it. Sometimes it was even simpler, maybe a compliment on a cool pair of shoes or the classic, “Can I borrow a pen?” line sparked the friendship. But no matter how it started, by semester’s end, a new friend was always made.
It’s not news that it’s hard to make friends. It requires putting yourself out there, putting aside your insecurities, and putting your faith into a complete stranger that they will reciprocate any friendly words you may share with them. But we’re missing out if we don’t set those negatives aside. We all probably met at least one of our closest friends in a class in which we knew no one else. We all have found at least one other person who is running through all the same self-conscious questions as we are. And so, even though it’s hard to silence those questions, as September rolls around we should try to remind ourselves when we don’t share classes with friends, it provides us an opportunity to make new ones.
School is starting and classes are in full swing! We challenge you to introduce yourself to someone new this semester! Step up, get vulnerable, and say hello. You never know what friendships could form with the strangers in the desk next to you.
Glenne is a third year law student hailing from NYC, University of Michigan ‘13 grad and Beyonce enthusiast. Currently residing in Korea, my interests include duathlons/triathlons, traveling near and far, documentary films, consuming sugary cereal, watching mid-2000s teen dramas and singing my heart out at Betty Who concerts. You can watch me attempt to navigate Asia and beyond on Instagram @glennefucci.