The Daily Tar Heel
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The Daily Tar Heel

One of the best parts of college is that, for one of the first times in your life, you get to pick your friends. You have been with the same people possibly since kindergarten and all of a sudden you are introduced to an entirely new group of people. It's exciting, but let's be real. It's terrifying.

I was an out-of-state student, so this push into the social deep end was especially drastic. While other first-years were eating lunch with their high school friends, I was eating alone (which is totally cool by the way and now something I actually enjoy). 

Two weeks went by and I was basically still friendless. But when I was trying the classic "be friends with the people on your hall" trick, I heard that a girl living a few doors down had a birthday coming up, and that one of her favorite things is Irish Soda Bread. I was homesick, still hunting for friends and a fairly good baker. It was bread time. 

I Ubered to the Harris Teeter and asked my mom to mail me caraway seeds. I stationed myself in a tiny dorm kitchen and baked two loaves of bread. Once I texted my floor GroupMe that I had made this bread for this girl, I sat in the first floor lounge and waited. People came. They ate and they talked. And then, something really cool happened.

I lived in a North Campus dorm that only had 100 people in it and the first floor was all boys. Those boys heard the gathering in the lounge and they came by. And they stayed long after my floor had left. They showed me their rooms and we watched TV, and all of sudden I realized that everyone else was like me. Everyone was just trying to make a friend. 

Those boys became like brothers to me, and two years later remain some of my best friends. We have a fantasy football league together and we still hang out despite all living in different dorms. When I would go to a party, I would text our group chat and at least four of them would come pick me up and walk me home. 

I lived in a small dorm and was already fairly outgoing, so I realize that this unorthodox friend-making strategy is not for everyone. My advice to you, then, is to find your bread. Talk to your hallmate. Sit next to someone new in class. Join a ministry, Greek organization, a cappella group, service project, the DTH or anything else that sparks your interest.

Most of all, do not be afraid of change. My mother once said there is really no way to prepare for college and she is right. The best you can do is dive in, trust yourself and don't be scared if you get new friends, new hobbies or new views. You're supposed to.

When in doubt, almost everyone likes brownies.

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