I knew a grand total of zero people going into college, a fact which was slightly daunting. I was going to a college 3,000 miles away from home with no friends – I have to say I was a little worried.
Then during orientation week I must have shook hands with at least 1,000 people and remembered probably less than 10 percent of them. So I was still left without any true friends.
Sure, I’d see people in the hallways and say hi, but I didn’t hang out with them. It wasn’t because I didn’t like them or they didn’t like me — it was simply because those people and I didn’t have very much in common. The only reason we knew each other was because we were in similar situations — college freshman who were worried about gaining 15 pounds, who had no contacts, and who procrastinated assignments until the very last moment. That just wasn’t the strong base of a friendship for me.
So I had to wait.
I was not miserable those first weeks because I am mostly solitary, but I still looked for friends among the people I met. I joined clubs and shook hands with many more people, sometimes exchanging numbers. I still did not gravitate to anyone.
Then one day after Mass on Campus hosted by our Newman Club, a Catholic organization present in many colleges, I went to dinner with a guy I had met weeks before and had seen on multiple occasions at different clubs. I had a blast and talked with this guy over dinner for a crazy amount of time until I eventually had to depart for homework. But I knew that this was a potential friend.
Making friends in college is hard, especially when you’re looking for the right team members in your race to heaven. Here are some tips in finding the right friends in order to stay holy:
- You don’t have to be friends with your roommate, or even your floor-mates. By all means be a good neighbor and roommate with politeness and respect, but you should not feel forced to hang out with the people you live with every moment of every day. I have already seen people fall off the right path because they have fallen in line with their roommates.
- Join clubs. You are much more likely to meet people with the same interests as you there than anywhere else.
- Join a Catholic organization, and if there isn’t one, seek to make one. The greatest team members in your race to heaven will be those who share your faith, and having a close knit group of Catholics will be extremely beneficial to you as it is to me.
- Hang out with other Christians. I don’t recommend studying the Bible with them because of conflicting beliefs, but if a Christian organization holds a social event, attend! It is a great way to promote the Christian unity that Pope Francis encourages and also to make some strong friends.
- Trust in God and pray. He’s not going to let you go through your college career without making a single friend – He’s got your back.
After my dinner with my new Catholic friend things began to look up. He and I hung out more often, I grew in friendship with other members of Newman Club and other leadership clubs, and I gained many other Christian friends through a Christian fellowship program at my school. I am now content with my friends, and know that I have the teammates I need to get to heaven.
Don’t settle for being friends with someone who leads you away from holiness simply because that person is there. God has much greater plans in store for you.