Dear Stacey: Will my student make friends?

Dear Stacey:

I am worried about my daughter making connections. She is introverted and a bit on the anxious side. How can we be sure she will find friends? I know BU is jam-packed with clubs and sororities, but we fear she may never leave her room. Picture, “bookworm PLUS shy”.
PS: please don’t tell her I wrote.

Signed: #NotNervousButNervous

Dear NotNervousButNervous:

That can be a challenge for sure! This is a huge time of transition. Leaving what was safe and moving away, new surroundings, new people, new responsibilities – even new food can be a trigger! For the average student this can cause their blood pressure to rise. Add in a touch of shy and a dash of anxiety, and some students can really feel stuck. Here is what I would suggest for your daughter:

First, come to Boston over the summer if you can. Allow her to get acquainted with this awesome city and our campus. This will allow her to feel like it’s hers.

Second, encourage her participate in a program like FYSOP. This will allow her to get connected based on her interests and also bond with a small group of students ahead of time – makes the transition much less overwhelming.

Third – and MOST important – remember that your daughter is already a success, or she wouldn’t be coming to BU! Ask her what worked at home to help her with her shyness and anxiety, and try to help her recreate this at BU – ahead of time. Maybe she loves kickboxing, or a book club, or needed weekly therapy sessions. Whatever she feels has helped in the past, try to recreate here so she feels comfortable.

Lastly – and this is a piece of advice for you – you have taught her well, and she is ready to be here. I would encourage you to try hard NOT to ask her how the social stuff is going. We don’t want to add stress. Just let her share as needed. There are so many staff in and outside of Residence Life who are here to help her transition. All of our students find their way, their group, their people, in their own time. Don’t worry, we’ve got this!

P.S. I won’t tell her you wrote ;)


Stacey Harris, Associate Director of Disability ServicesDear Stacey is the Parents Program’s advice column and is written by Associate Director of Disability Services, Stacey Harris. Submit your questions (which are answered anonymously) via the following form.

Dear Stacey - Parent Advice