Dear Harlan: I’m a high-school student, and I’m really nervous about college. I’m the only student from my school going to Xavier University, and I’m also commuting, which doesn’t really help my case. I’m really shy – I’m not the type of person to approach another person and start a conversation. Xavier has a four-day orientation, with each session lasting pretty much the entire day. How can I make sure that when I go, I’m not alone? I’ve looked at clubs and Greek life, but Xavier doesn’t have many options. I’m afraid that commuting will make it harder for me to make new friends. — Getting Scared
Dear Getting Scared: Nervous is totally normal. You’ll either make friends right away, or it will take you time. Plan on it taking time. Surround yourself with people who are involved and people who commute. I did a quick search and discovered The Commuter Council at Xavier. They meet twice a month, support commuters and plan activities for them. Volunteer and connect with the leaders of this group. Ask them how they found their places on campus. Work, eat and study on campus as much as possible. As for getting involved, seek spiritual groups, athletics, part-time jobs and volunteer opportunities. Take on a leadership position (this makes it easier to build relationships). Finally, when you’re at orientation, share that you’re the only one from your school on campus. Mention that you’re shy (to the student leaders). Most of them were shy, too. It’s hard to see it, but you’re just like most of the people on campus. I promise.