Ever walked into a crowded room, say at a party, and just had absolutely no idea of what to do? Like, you scan around and you don’t know a single person there? Imagine University as a huge-scale, slightly calmer party. You walk in the front doors, and at first, you don’t know a single person there. How exactly are you supposed to go about handling that?
Flashback: Second Orientation Day
Picture me, driving to campus, vowing to myself that I would say hello to one real, total stranger. I did. And it was what you might call a disaster: two minutes of brief conversation supplied me with the belief that my single attempt at talking to someone would reflect the entirety of my university social life. In short, I was pretty sure I’d be a loner in spite of all efforts. For the rest of the day, what might have been a really cool time for me was taken by my own worry that maybe I wouldn’t get to feel included at UTM.
Oh, how wrong I was.
It’s a cliché to say everyone at UTM is nice. But that’s the thing about clichés: there’s normally some measure of truth in them. And I’m not just talking about friends. Think of UTM as a muggle Hogwarts – you’re going to have your core people, your Ron and Hermione, and there are going to be Neville’s and Luna’s along the way too. (As to where this metaphor falters? I haven’t met a Draco Malfoy-type on campus. I don’t think I ever will either.) Most of all, though, there are going be people who are just there. Students who should logically be totally unremarkable.
Theses students are anything but your ordinary strangers, though. While having friends is wonderful and having good classmates if great too, what has driven home this feeling of unity and inclusion at UTM for me has been the people who I don’t actually really know, the people who turn a good day into a great one.
How, you ask? Here are 4 ways that fellow UTM students make this place feel a little friendlier.
- The Table Sharing Thing. If’ you’ve ever been hanging around between 10 AM and 3 PM, I’m sure you’ll have felt the struggle to find a solitary table to use for food or study. Luckily, going up to a student sitting alone and asking to share the table will wield positive results.
- “Can you watch my stuff?” There’s that intense fear that stepping away from your bag for five minutes will result in losing that bag or losing your place to sit. Thankfully, there will always be someone around to watch your things for a couple minutes if you need to step away, all you need do is ask.
- Pre/post Lecture Conversation. It’s admittedly awkward, standing around five minutes before the hour, waiting for your lecture to start whilst another finishes up. And you’re not alone: normally a crowd forms. So, if you’ve got a question about that class, or you just want to talk, strike up a conversation- it might lead to a new friend, and it will make those minutes of waiting fly by.
- Extracurricular Stuffs. If I had a nickel for every time someone told students to get involved, I wouldn’t be going to school – I would be living comfortably off get involved And yet, there is no better display of friendliness than the community of a club, and UTM has many to offer. So, join in or offer your support! You’ll have all sorts of chances to feel the kindness of your other students.
The bottom line is, Harry Potter was never quite alone as he went through Hogwarts, and neither will you be at UTM. Maybe it is a sizable school, maybe you’ve never know everyone on campus, maybe we are just small parts of a huge community. That’s totally okay! There’s a reason saying everyone is nice and kind is a cliché, and that is probably because it’s true.
As a great song once said:
And those are words I live by.
So, next time you’re in need, I dare you to ask your fellow students for help, whether they be your closest friend or a total stranger!