Beyond class and dormitory: finding your people at a new school

Making friends at a new school can be a big challenge, but Morgan Chudd '19 has five tips to help you find your people.

Making friends at a new school can be a big challenge, but it is probably the easiest thing you will do during your time as a Falcon. For the most part, everyone is in the same boat as you - everyone starts with being dropped off at this new place all alone. At the start of the year, during POCO (Peddie On Campus Orientation), people tend to cling to their roommate or that one person they’ve met so far. We’ve all been there, don’t worry! The obvious ways to start making friends are to get to know your teammates, classmates and dorm mates. These relationships are super important because you’re going to be around these people A LOT over the next one, two, three or four years. But it’s also important to be open to finding friends in other places. These five tips are ways I found my closest friends - hopefully, they’ll help you too! 

1. Talk to everyone you meet at Peddie. My best advice is to talk to anyone and everyone you come across at Peddie. You never know how much you might have in common with someone who might seem very different from you. How often can you say that your best friend lives in a different country? Many of my friends are people I would never have become friends with if I didn’t start a simple conversation with them. I bonded with one of my now closest friends over the fact that she lived five minutes away from my aunt! It’s always easier to think you won't get along with someone than actually reaching out and making the effort to create a friendship, but making the effort is almost always worth it. 

2. Become friends with both day students and boarders. Whether you commute to Peddie on a daily basis or live in a dorm, having friends who live on campus and off makes your circle that much bigger. As a boarder, it’s always nice when you can stay at a friends house over the weekend if you are ever feeling homesick or want to get off campus for a little while. Your day student friends will also eventually become your go-to when you need a ride somewhere. As a day student, it’s great to have a friend’s room to hang out in when you have downtime between classes or to have Saturday night sleepovers with. 

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3. Branch out to students of all different types. One of the most important things I have learned over the past two years is to branch out to different types of students in all of the areas of your life. Find some teammates you connect with, pick some friends from your classes that you can study with and always have your closest friends in the dorm that you can hang out with at night. 

4. Be yourself. Don’t try to fit in somewhere that you know you won't. Whatever friends you make should be people that you can be yourself with. Know that some friendships fade, while new friendships form. Friends you make your freshman year might change over the summer, and you’ll make new friends each year. I have seen so many inseparable people in their senior year who didn't even talk for the first two years of school. Always be open to making new friends throughout your whole time at Peddie!

5. Pace yourself. One of the main differences between boarding school and day school is how often you see your friends. You live with these people and eat almost every meal together. There is no escape. Even as a day student, you are on often on campus through dinnertime and beyond. Here’s my last tip: Work through tough times. Know that you are going to get in fights with your roommate and your closest friends. That can be one of the hardest parts about living on campus, but it helps you learn how to talk through things and build stronger, lasting relationships. Believe it or not, sometimes hanging out with someone less can help strengthen your friendship! 

Try not to overthink anything; making friends will happen randomly and naturally throughout your time at Peddie. Be yourself, and be open to meeting all of your fellow Falcons, and I guarantee you will have an amazing experience and create some lifelong friendships! 

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