Step 6: Find your people
I was running down the empty hallway looking for my friends, but all I could see was empty classrooms and some unfamiliar faces.
That’s the dream that I had just before my first day of class, so I guess you could say I was nervous. As expected, I didn’t make any friends within the first few days of college. I would go to my class and try to awkwardly smile at the person sitting next to me, they would smile back and quickly change their seat after the break.
Even if I managed to start a conversation with someone, it wouldn’t last very long because I quickly realized that I wasn’t familiar with Canadian slang. For example, words like ‘pop’ left me utterly confused, so I would just sit alone and stare at my textbooks. Finally, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and get to know the place a little better in hopes of making some friends.
My first attempt at getting involved was at The EDGE, during my second week at school. I’m a pessimist so I was worried everyone would exclude me, but I was so wrong! I was a little late, but when I finally arrived, my team leader shouted, “PRABH! WELCOME!” with his arms raised. I was so relieved that somebody was being so friendly to me that I immediately jumped up and down and shouted “THANKS!”
The EDGE was a three-day event, mostly focused on helping new students have fun and make new friends. It involved a mixture of sports events and other team oriented activities such as ‘Jeopardy’ and dance offs. Even though we were competing against other teams, we all became really close at the end. My team didn’t win but we were having too much fun to care. Of all the activities, my favourite was the Amazing Race in which we solved clues that helped us explore new places on campus. Did you know we have a quiet patio near the biology labs?
I was nervous about feeling alone at the EDGE, but later I realized that everyone was just like me, they were looking for new friends, too. After the Edge, my team wanted to stick together! I started spending more time at the College because I had more friends, I knew where to find them, and I knew that I could be myself with them. Now, even though I’m 11,936 km away from home as an international student, I feel at home at Douglas College.
So, these days my ‘squad’ from the EDGE meets at the fishbowl and makes many plans, but mostly we just whine about how broke we all are (student life = broke life). We’ve had bubble tea at the Richmond Night Market, screamed at scary zombies at Fright Nights at Playland and hung upside down from The Beast. We plan on sticking together throughout our college years, and collecting more memories.
And about that bad dream? I only had it that one time! Now, instead of having bad dreams and being alone and awkward, I’m making lots of happy memories with my new friends.
So, if you’re nervous about settling in at the College and making new friends, do what I did during my first month at Douglas: come out of your shell and get involved!
The EDGE is a September-only event, but GUESS WHAT?! Student Life is hosting an Icebreaker event that will be like a mini-EDGE for new students at the College. YAAAAY! See you there!
And I promise to throw my hands in the air and tell you I’m so glad you came.