Over the summer, I made a difficult decision to stay off-campus instead of living in residence. I was of course, concerned with the chances of meeting new people and making friends. However, although my friends who live in the residence meet more new people that I do, I feel like I’m no longer too concerned about being isolated.
If you are a first-year commuter like me, I completely understand if you struggle to make connections. Because I do too. It’s normal to think about how everyone is making new friends except for you. Personally, I don’t think it’s hard to meet new people, but it’s definitely difficult to build new, genuine relationships. It’s also only a little bit more than a month since our time at U of T, and you know what? Good things (including relationships) take time.
While joining clubs and initiating conversations are good ways to feel less lonely, I believe learning how to do things alone can be beneficial in the long run as well. I enjoy studying at Robarts in the late evenings, getting food from food trucks, and walking through campus finding spaces to sit. Most of the time, I do these alone. I appreciate how I have some people to study and eat with me occasionally, but I am also okay with the idea of being alone around school. It’s probably an unfamiliar feeling for some to not be constantly around people. It takes time, so if you’re somehow feeling out of place, that’s normal!
I continuously search for opportunities to build genuine connections. Whether that be signing up for mentorship programs or saying yes to spontaneous hangouts, I cherish the time when I get to talk to people besides studying. One of my recent activities is joining the Make Fridays Matter sessions organized by the University College’s Commuter Student Centre.
The CSC is located near to Whitney Hall (the building right across from Robarts). It’s around the road between the back campus and the UC building. You can find a video from UC’s CSC Instagram showing the directions to access the CSC. There’s construction going on, so it may be hard to find it at first glance. Here’s a picture of what the entrance to the UC building looks like right now!
The Make Fridays Matter is a two-hour session held every Friday 2-4pm. It involves some ice-breaking conversations and productive study periods. At my last session last Friday, we used the Pomodoro technique. For every 25 mins, I was able to have meaningful and fun conversations with the upper years. As a person who loves interactions, I love sessions like these that foster productivity and bonding moment. It’s also a pretty small group, so you don’t have to worry about being uncomfortable!
There are a lot of ways to make UofT more comfortable for you. If you have not yet checked out the Student Life page, I highly recommend you do so! I also like checking out CLNx to stay updated with the latest events.