Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
May 29, 2023

How to make friends after O-Week

By AASHI MENDPARA | September 1, 2022



Mendpara prepares freshmen with advice on how to make friends.

The moment I saw my picture and biography on the Hopkins Class of 2025 Instagram account, I instantly began picking the skin of my cuticles (kinda gross, but whatever). I must have sent that paragraph talking about my potential majors and favorite boba flavor to seven people, asking if I came off as personable and charming. Seeing this post made me realize that this is it: This is what will define my fate for the next four years. 

Saying I was nervous would be an understatement — I was horrified. The thought of people perceiving me and deciding whether or not I would be a lifelong companion based on an Instagram post is daunting. In all honesty the pandemic hadn’t made it any better. I had been sitting in my room alone for nearly a year and a half, and my social capital was the least of my worries. 

College is hard. Everyone just seems to know the group they will be sticking with during Orientation Week (O-Week), the friends they’ll join clubs with after the Student Involvement Fair, the people they’ll be pulling all-nighters with before exams. I remember coming to college and being utterly confused: How does everyone know everyone?

There is pressure to find the perfect group of people to hang out with and the people that, in an ideal scenario, will ultimately become your best friends for life. I spent the entirety of O-Week running to 7-Eleven with random freshmen I met on the quad, grabbing lunch with my First-Year Mentor group and spending hours on the Beach talking about music and books. It was exhausting. I remember stepping into my dorm every night and lying for hours on the floor (after we vacuumed, of course) while thinking, How can I muster the energy to survive this week? The answer was Red Bull. 

Later in the week, my roommate and I found a note on our whiteboard.

“Cards Against Humanity, AMR II Social Lounge, 9 p.m.?”

We were out of the room by 8:45. 

Can you guess what happened next? We were ghosted (#lol). No one showed up, so we called a friend to tell them the story as our laughter danced across the phone line. As soon as we were about to leave, a group of people stumbled through the doorway. They saw the box I was holding, and we ended up staying in the lounge for hours into the night. We grabbed lunch the next day and dinner after that, and now they spend nights in my dorm room. 

The people from the social lounge that night ended up being some of my closest friends last year. Unpredictable, spontaneous and random, our friendship gives me joy that I could only imagine experiencing. 

Since then I have met countless people, and I cherish my relationships with all of them. I still think about the weeks before I moved to Baltimore: I was terrified. Making friends is scary. But I am a living representation of someone that didn’t have it all figured out (I still don’t), and everything turned out to be fine. I found the people I joined clubs with and study groups I suffered with during all-nighters. 

As your resident “everything-will-be-okay” advocate, I am here to reassure you that indeed, everything will be okay. But if that isn’t enough to stop you from crying when thinking about making friends, I am here to give you some enlightenment I was blessed with during my freshman year at Hopkins: Other people don’t know what they’re doing. 

I can assure you that nearly everyone is winging it, and if someone says they aren’t, they’re lying. Some people are learning how to do laundry for the first time, a few are practicing how to boil a serving of pasta and many are figuring out how to find their place, their group if you will, on Homewood Campus. Talk to people! Pangs of homesickness and yearning for quality food outside of the Fresh Food Cafe (#rip) will form a bond stronger than most. Have a picnic on the Beach, visit Bird in Hand together or splurge at CharMar: The possibilities are endless. People are looking to make friends just as much as you are. 

Secondly, the people you met during O-Week are not the only people you have to talk to for the rest of your college experience. I have met absolutely amazing people during O-Week, and I have met equally amazing people in the spring semester. Cherish these relationships. You might feel pressured to find a select group to hang out with, but there is something inherently exciting about meeting new people and learning about their passions and interests. However if you do find a group of people you absolutely love, that’s totally okay too! Everyone is going with the flow, and you’ll figure out what is best for you. 

Lastly, if you don’t read anything else and want to take one piece of advice from this article, you are a beautiful person, and you will find people that appreciate you for you. College is scary, doing laundry for the first time kinda sucks and cooking will be the bane of your existence, but the people are what will make your experience worthwhile. You will be able to meet the most inspiring and incredible people, and they will have the opportunity to meet you. In a few years’ time, your Hopkins class Instagram post will be your source of laughter.

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