I don't think I realised just how shy I am until I started uni. Making new friends is damn hard, especially when it seems as if everyone else already has someone. Some people are lucky enough to have school chums who have come along for the ride, while others are just monstrously outgoing and as such have no trouble meeting and bonding with strangers. I, on the other hand, have always relied on people I already know and people who introduce themselves to me.
This proved a problem when I reached my place of higher education as the multitude of people combined with the immediate workload from classes left me in a state of shock which saw me sitting alone during lectures and calling my parents during breaks so I would look like someone actually wanted me.
And you know what I realised? Nobody cares.
At uni, nobody really cares if you are alone and friendless, that you are sitting alone for the third week in a row. It's not a malicious carelessness. People don't go out of their way to exclude you or specifically ignore your aloneness. It's just that they are all far too busy with their own issues to worry about your teen-life crisis.
When I was in high school, almost every move was scrutinised and commented upon, and not just by people I knew. Whenever I straightened my naturally curly hair people who I seemed to only speak to on such occasions would stop me to comment on the dramatic change. New backpacks were noticed and discussed, and mufti days were a source of great consultation.
However, when I tried the hair trick at uni, no one said a thing. Not a single eyebrow was twitched. Notice was certainly not given.
Maybe it's just my vanity talking. It's nice to sometimes be noticed positively for changes and achievements. And when you are down its nice when people take an interest in your well being. But you know what? It's totally ok if they don't.
So far, of the people I've met at uni, there has been a clear distinction between those who will choose the neighbouring seat for the foreseeable future and those who are only going to be a source of conversation for one brief tutorial.
Of the former group, I seem to have acquired four. How do I know they are part of this group? Because one of them initiated (yes, initiated, shy little me didn't have to cyberstalk) a Facebook conversation just hours after introducing herself to me in a tutorial. A social conversation. Not in any way related to uni courses. There were pop culture references and in jokes and "haha, loves youuuus" which I wouldn't have expected from someone I had barely known for six hours.
It was amazing. And it didn't stop there. Barely a week later another member of the aforementioned group handed me her phone and asked me to put my number in her contacts as she "hated conversing online when you could have a perfectly good conversation on a phone". A person with the right ideals and wanting to pursue a friendship? Score!
An invitation to the first girl's upcoming 18th birthday party shortly followed, accompanied by a reassuring "you had better come, you know you'll make the party great- of course I'm inviting you!" to boost the ego.
So I've come to decide that it's absolutely okay for people to not seem to look like all the time. After all, the ego boosting from an excitable conversation finished with a love heart far outweighs someone who has never shown any interest asking you if you are wearing a wig because your hair looks really pretty like that.
Maybe uni won't be so bad after all. And those new Facebook friends? Not just for show.