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Making Friends Your First Year!
Making friends in a new environment can be very challenging. You're meeting people with little knowledge of your culture, religion, values, and principles. But, how you guys come together and support one another despite those differences makes having friends at college different. College is a time of many difficulties and challenges. So, when you have friends who have persevered through these problems with you, it makes these bonds even stronger than the ones you've created for most of your life.
Back home in NYC, making friends would be very easy. Most of the friends you created were from school or work. And when they weren't, it was still very easy. When you're from the same borough as someone or are from a certain country or tribe, it feels like a natural connection. These little communities bring a lot of great people together and hence most people know one another in a community. For this reason, many people who have lived in New York City for most of their lives tend to feel like the city is very small. Here in Hanover, I had to first understand that I am meeting people who come from all over the world. This meant that their way of living, their mannerisms, and the normality of things for them was different from mine.
For most of my life, I've been an extrovert. I'm very social, I love meeting new people and trying new things. I am always eager to talk to people and know more about them. Here at Dartmouth, so many people were this way as well, and I'm grateful for them. But at the same time, I want to move away from being friends with people who are like me and engage with people who I wouldn't usually hang out with. And that takes a lot of effort but it's been working. I've made friends who have taught me so much about their culture and where they come from. But, I'm also thankful to say that I know they'll be there for me when I need them and vice versa.
My point is, that being open-minded was crucial to making friends here. I was aware of how much I was used to living in New York and that alone made me very mindful of how I carried myself here. Certain things I said (NYC lingo) or did, I had to keep in mind that it would confuse some people here. So, explaining it or using them very lightly was necessary. It's important to understand that I'm not only learning from them, but they're also learning from me as well. So, it always comes down to both sides of the friendship.
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