Make more than just Facebook friends this year

This year’s “Accepted – Brock University, Class of 2019” Facebook group is the most active I’ve ever seen. Photos, bios, barrages of cell phone numbers and of course, the most used ending to a post, “feel free to add me”. This incoming group of first-years certainly aren’t the first to use Facebook as their prime socializing technique in university; back in my day, I exchanged BBMs with every Con-ed student around.

While Facebook groups are a valuable resource for any last-minute packing or admission questions you might have, it won’t properly fulfil its function as your primary friend-making tool. Instead, you’ll have to do the unthinkable — meet people in person — during the first month of classes.

It might come easier to those students living in residences, or in houses with large groups of other students, it will be much harder for those students living off campus or at home to get involved in the Brock community. Even if you do live on a lively floor in Lowenberger, it’s always a great idea to put yourself out there and meet people in your own program, which will become more and more important as the years progress.

Lectures are an opportunity to take advantage of. Hundreds of like-minded people shoved in a single room, many sitting alone ready to talk and fully prepared to meet new people. As the ‘early’ crowd outside of the lecture hall begins to fall in when the doors open, you have an opportunity to choose your seat, and potentially a new friend. My advice to you is to sit uncomfortably close to someone sitting alone, preferably not at the back. When you’re looking for new friends, find someone who wants to be there. It may be easier to bond in the back row by complaining about the professor, but you’ll want people who are active, involved and care about their studies.

Lecture Hall (11)

That being said, there’s a difference between actively looking for friends and conducting TSA background checks. On the “Accepted” group, people post their hometown, their major, whether they drink, their favourite sports, their favourite books and so on. It’s almost like a dating service. You withhold your ‘likes’ and ‘friend requests’ until you find someone who shares your interest in marionettes and Nickelback, and then you finally try to make virtual contact. This isn’t the point of university, this isn’t the point of meeting new people. Instead, try expanding beyond your previous limitations and horizons.

I grew up in Niagara Falls. Most people from Niagara Falls have the shared experiences of a summer job at The Niagara Parks, going down to BP (Boston Pizza) on weekends, and complaining about how they’re bored of Clifton Hill. Every other city and town in Ontario likely shares mantras similar to this.

That’s what makes university so special, you no longer have to be bound to people from similar backgrounds, and who have the same experiences: meet international students, meet people from small Ontario towns, and from Canadian mega-cities — with over 18,000 students to choose from, why hem yourself into only associating with students who share your love for collecting Ty beanie babies (which are worth as little today as they did in the ‘90s).

It’s not about the criteria, or a ‘friend check-list’, just go out and meet people who are positive, active and who compliment your own unique features and personalities.

-Steve Nadon

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