Freshers – it’s okay if you’ve made no friends
Friendless fresher? Don’t fret
Let’s rewind back a year; back to the bleary-eyed whirlwind that was my fresher Mich term. By this point, young Louisa was college-engaged, she was a frequent host-er of prinks, and she was already on first name terms with one of the porters. However, you would be mistaken in thinking that she had found profound, life-long friendships of the Famous Five variety – far from it.
My nights were spent drunkenly professing ‘I love you’s to a girl whose lipstick I liked in the Cindies toilets, and my days were spent nursing the hangover with my long-suffering now-wife.I’d sit in lectures bored and almost always alone (people don’t tend to make friends that much in history, or if they do, no one told me). Furthermore, my fresher enthusiasm had landed me in a novice boat, and sitting behind someone pulling on a long stick at 6am is hardly a sure-fire way of finding your soul mates.
It hit me that whilst I had made plenty of ‘friends’, they didn’t really know me at all. I was just gliding through life, unknown and unknowing, no longer as isolated as I had been, but still waiting to meet those bright, life-changing people I had been led to believe would be practically oozing from the pavement. Where were my ‘people’? When would my friendships stop feeling slightly like a performance and start getting to the 4:00am existential talks over cheese and pesto toasties?
At times I was sure I would never find such camaraderie, and I’ll be honest: it took some time. But then, inexplicably, it happened. Not all at once; not even where I most expected. But slowly I started to find people, to like people, to feel like I’d met the people who I could do this whole Cambridge thing with.
So my advice to you, dear freshers is this: fret not if your lives be, at this point, friendless. Or at least, absent of real friends. It will come with time. You won’t fall into a ready-made group of broody intellectuals who spot you from across the street and suddenly realise you’re the missing member of their clique. Well you might.
But it’s okay if your people don’t live conveniently on your corridor, and hence might take a little longer to locate. Groups with enough cohesion to have a consistent and witty group chat name take time. Don’t be worried if, four weeks in, you still feel kind of alone. Coming from my own experience (full disclosure: may not be representative of population as a whole) most people will feel the same way. So, at least for now, be content with stilted small talk between you and your kitchen mate whilst you wait for your toast to pop up. And try and get out into the world more, because you’re not going to find your closest companions in your wardrobe, or in that one corner of the library you always sit in.
I didn’t source the majority of my friends until well into Lent, so please don’t worry if no one’s asked you to be a godparent to their future child just yet.