Making friends the old-fashioned way


Christina Ashley

One of the many friend groups that has formed here at NVU-Johnson

The most recent COVID-19 guidelines at NVU require students to be fully vaccinated, unless they qualify for an exemption, and to comply with all indoor mask mandates and appropriate social distancing. Add single-room occupancy in the dorms, and the majority of students returning to campus this fall feel safer about being on campus and attending in-person classes.
“I do feel safer on campus, and everyone’s vaccinated, because it reduces the chances of me getting sick or of me bringing home something, and it’s just better for all of us,” Early College student Zoe Gray said.
“I think it’s good that they’re making everyone be vaccinated for the most part,” Sophie Poirier, also a freshman, said. “I’m really thankful that I get to live on campus and also that I get to participate in classes all in person. A lot of people still have a lot of online classes, but I got lucky to have all of my classes be in person besides the one week that we went remote.”
The transition to college on its own is difficult enough for many first-year and Early College students. People already feel isolated being in a new environment out on their own and away from home. Students attending classes this year are managing that social stress on top of dealing with the pandemic.
Zoe Avent, a first-year student, said that the pandemic has made her feel isolated because of her anxiety about COVID-19. She is very concerned about getting sick and getting others sick.
Other students say COVID-19 is the reason they have forced themselves to seize the opportunity to engage with people and to make more friends.
“I feel like I actually made more friends than I would have if it wasn’t a pandemic year,” said Jessica Howard, a first-year Early College student who initially expected COVID-19 to have a negative effect on her social life. “I think the college tried to get people out of their rooms and there were so many activities going on outside.”
Freshman political science major Elijah Alexander agrees that NVU-Johnson has created many opportunities for students to connect socially.
“The university has provided a multitude of events and socializing areas, though, they maintain an emphasis on safety and following COVID guidelines,” Alexander said. “I feel that the school has done what they can to influence the students. Specifically I’m thinking of the live music events and game room that have been accessible; however, I would like to see more students utilizing these opportunities.”
For those who are not as confident about making friends or for those who are feeling a little more isolated, some students shared some ideas that they used in order to make friends.
“Well most of the time you’d think that everybody else already has established groups of friends, but you can pretty much talk to whoever you want. Everybody wants to talk to you. Most of the time people are pretty open to making new friends no matter what the time is or the situation,” Howard said.
Most students interviewed agreed the best way to make friends is just to start the conversation and introduce yourself.
“I would start by waving and saying hi to people. It may feel like the world is closing in but it’s easy to return a favor like that,” Avent said. She recommended sitting with people you don’t know at mealtime. “It’s scary at first, but it’s so cool when you meet someone that shares the same interests as you.”