Zoya hailed from a comparatively smaller town and had worked extremely hard to get into IIT-B. Her excitement knew no bounds when she started at IIT. Like many others, she dreamed of making the most of the next four years in Mumbai and on campus with a friend circle of her own. When she arrived on campus, she realised how different everyone was here. There were people from all parts of the country, each trying to find their own way. With each day, she found the experience of acquainting her to new people and places overwhelming. Feeling homesick didn’t help much. She often found herself thinking if she would be able to fit in? Would she find people who shared similar interests and beliefs? Would her college mates like her?Initiation
Becoming an IITian and coming to campus is a thrilling experience for everyone. You’re probably excited about all the possibilities that the next couple of years hold. But this new shift also means that you have had to leave behind your friends and family and start afresh in a new environment. Being surrounded by so many new people from varied backgrounds and having to build and navigate your way through different relationships can be overwhelming.
Not only as freshers, but you may also look to make new friends at any point during your time here. Many connections evolve after one semester or even a year or two after being on campus. Some students seek new friends after a branch or hostel change or simply because they want to expand their immediate circle. But, for many of us, making friends isn’t as easy. It is natural to feel awkward, shy, unsure about how to initiate conversations, feeling scared and apprehensive.
IIT-B will offer a multitude of experiences to you which are much beyond just academics. There are abundant clubs, groups, and activities on campus that you can be a part of. Join any of these based on your interests and find like-minded people!
Also, make use of all the orientation programs, the Facebook group for freshers and the InstiApp to remain updated about the latest developments on campus.
Take in the new experiences in smaller doses to increase your comfort around new people, places and practices.
Be forthcoming and approach your wingies, roommates; learn about them and find some common healthy hobbies/ experience that you can try out together
Sometimes everyone around you may seem to be coping well academically and otherwise. Remember everyone comes from different backgrounds and with the help of support systems available on campus, you can cope well. Do not compare your experience to those of your batchmates or friends. Everyone has a unique journey and not one way is better than another.
At most times (especially in the initial days), you will find that most of your peers are looking for friends too. Don’t wait for someone to walk up to you. It can be scary but take the initiative and get talking to people. The more you do so, the easier it'll get.
Wanting to fit in and make friends quickly is understandable. But altering your personality or putting up a facade is going to be draining and won’t work out too well in the long run. Being genuine and true to yourself will help you build more fulfilling and lasting connections (eg. You don’t have to consume substances to fit in). Draw healthy boundaries and avoid being influenced by peers who may have belief systems or habits you’re not comfortable with.
One of the easiest ways to bond is over food and sharing mealtime is a great way to get closer to new people.
Don’t stick to laptop or mobile screens for long.
Recall how you ‘learned the trick’ of making friends in school or in your neighbourhood. Ask yourself:
How did you make friends in the past and what did you do well?
What are some good characteristics that you bring to a friendship?
What characteristics are you looking for and not looking for in a friend?
If you identify as queer, making friends can be even more difficult. You may constantly have to assess your surroundings and make decisions of disclosure (Is this a safe person? Do I confide in them? How much do I tell them? How will they react? Will they respect my privacy?). Remember, you don’t have to go through this alone.