I remember it like it was yesterday. Walking into the classroom scanning for someone who I thought was like me, anyone I could identify with, so I could sit next to and hopefully become lifelong BFFs … or at least just be awkwardly silent with.

It’s human nature for most of us to want to be with those like us. But here’s the thing about college: don’t. College is different than high school. Gone are pre-determined cliques that you’re either born into or work like crazy to be part of.

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 In college, there will be literally thousands of different personalities from all different backgrounds, and just like a good buffet, you owe it to yourself to try it all. Don’t look for your clone. Find out about someone completely different. If you were picked last in PE, get to know some student-athletes. International students bring a wealth of different cultures to campus, and that knowledge will benefit you beyond college, even if you just need a place to crash when traveling abroad. Commuter students know more about the area than you’ll ever be able to accidentally find on your own, talk to them for the inside scoop.

The bottom line is this is a whole new world. College is filled with tons of different groups who share interests and don’t share interests. You’re going to have friends from class, friends from your residence hall, friends from organizations. You’re going to have a lot of different groups. Be sure not to close yourself off to any of them. These will be the people who will be with you for life, so don’t miss an opportunity to get to know everyone!

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