I hail from Delano, Calif., a small town compared to where I am now. What I love about my town would is all of the wholesome, friendly, warm-hearted people that I have known for my entire life. My friends have been with me since what feels like forever; they are like my extended family. So, when we all decided on what college to attend and found out that we weren’t going to be with each other, it was tough for me. It was a challenge in and of itself.

Coming to California State University, Northridge (CSUN) alone was intimidating. I remember being so worried that I would not make any friends and would have to spend all of my time alone.

For the first couple of days, I would watch everyone interact. I tried giving myself the boost of confidence that I needed to introduce myself to someone, but it never worked. I was taken aback by the fast-paced lifestyle everyone at Northridge lives, which is a complete 180 from what I was used to in Delano.

Living in a small town, you never really have to introduce myself; everyone just knows who you are. My friendships were based upon years and years of foundation that was stripped away once I moved to Northridge.

However, I was lucky enough be dorming with some pretty spectacular girls whom I now have the privilege of calling my friends.

Having a nice, peaceful environment in my dorm transferred over into my academic life as well. I was able to speak to others and connect with them over random things. I remember I was in the library once and I sneezed. The guy next to me didn’t say “bless you;” instead, he said, “May the force be with you.” That sparked a conversation, and we were talking all things Star Wars and how he thinks there are only three real Star Wars movies.

Afterwards, we both walked away, leaving the conversation without even getting each other’s names. That was the moment I realized that this is what college is all about -- not necessarily making a best-friend-forever type of friendship, but being able to interact with other people.

Moving away for college made me realize there are more people out there in the world than just the people I grew up with. I have come to meet so many different personalities, ethnicities and cultures. College made me step out of my bubble and interact with other people, and I am so thankful for that.

If you’re having trouble making friends at college, here are some tips to help you out.

1. Clubs/Organizations: Joining a club on campus can help you meet new people who have the same interest as you do. I joined CSUNRTDNA, a broadcast journalism club, and it has really helped me in making connections with others who want to have the same career as I do.

2. Classmates: For at least an hour out of your week, you will be in a room with these unknown people. Make an effort to get to know them; this will make class more enjoyable. Last semester in my English class, we all bonded over how much we hated our essay topics, and after class we would grab lunch.

3. Smile: My mother always told me a smile is a warm invitation for conversation. Smiling lets other people know that you are approachable.