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I'm usually a social person but when I'm around people I don't know I become very shy. I'm starting medical school in a city where I know no one. What would be the best way to establish real friendships during orientation week and school itself? I didn't have this issue in university as I went to university with people I knew and made new friends together. I'm getting really nervous so happy for some advice.

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I'm usually a social person but when I'm around people I don't know I become very shy. I'm starting medical school in a city where I know no one. What would be the best way to establish real friendships during orientation week and school itself? I didn't have this issue in university as I went to university with people I knew and made new friends together. I'm getting really nervous so happy for some advice.

This isn't really advice, just reassurance. Medical school is like kindergarten. They pretty much force you to make friends. There are so many built in friend making opportunities, I think you'll find it easier than you're anticipating. So go to all of said opportunities.

 

There, I guess that's advice.

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I'm usually a social person but when I'm around people I don't know I become very shy. I'm starting medical school in a city where I know no one. What would be the best way to establish real friendships during orientation week and school itself? I didn't have this issue in university as I went to university with people I knew and made new friends together. I'm getting really nervous so happy for some advice.

You're very likely to be in the same boat as everyone else, you can't really gather a bunch of your friends in UG and decide to all go to, say, UofT Medicine. Obviously because of the chances of being admitted to an M.D. program :P

 

So don't worry, be yourself! you're obviously at the very least, slightly sociable and personable considering you passed the interview process :)

 

Good luck & enjoy Med school!!

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No suggestions as yet, but I'm in a similar boat. I'm a fairly quiet person. Not shy, but all things being equal I'd rather read or observe interactiona than do the rounds of large groups. Large roomfuls of people make me uncomfortable so while I'm sitting here in a room of over 200 people - funny enough, several of whom knew of me from here - most of whom are talking, I'm on PM101 or I have been reading a lot. While I'm not autistic myself, I share my son's difficulty at focusing on a single conversation when there are so many going on at once so I just sort of suck at socializing when there are this many people at once.

 

I expect it will be easier to make friends during smaller group activities - tutorials, clinical skills, study groups, interest groups or other small sessions - than in a huge seething mass of humanity as these orientation lectures and activities have been. I am not worrying about it much during O week myself. Friends will come with time. I've met plenty of lovely people but I'm not focusing too much on pursuing any particular relationships as yet.

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I met a lot of my friends through going to class and joining extracurriculars like intramural teams. It can be hard to make friends during o week because as an introvert, it can be overwhelming when 'they pretty much force you to make friends'. Don't be pressured into going to all the events (it can be really tiring!) and don't worry if you don't have a group of friends by the end of o week. There will be many opportunities to make meaningful connections with your classmates throughout the year.

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I met a lot of my friends through going to class and joining extracurriculars like intramural teams. It can be hard to make friends during o week because as an introvert, it can be overwhelming when 'they pretty much force you to make friends'. Don't be pressured into going to all the events (it can be really tiring!) and don't worry if you don't have a group of friends by the end of o week. There will be many opportunities to make meaningful connections with your classmates throughout the year.

I was mostly joking about that. I just meant that there are tons of opportunities. I'm actually fairly introverted too.

 

As I've said before, I really do think people should try to go to all events for the first couple weeks, even though it's tiring (I get it). While there are lots of opportunities, there's a window in which people kind of form their friend groups. Not to say people won't be nice after that, because they will, but as someone who is a bit introverted and is nervous about making friends, it's a lot harder to "insert" yourself into these preformed groups than it is to find your circle at the beginning.

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I think the ansewr to your question really depends on what's comfortable for you. I only have experience at UofC, but I'll share my thoughts on the most obvious options I've seen.

 

The mass socialization strategy in the first couple of weeks:

There are a number of full class activities during the first couple of weeks. The Humus (our second year students) and faculty/administration plan a lot of amazing events for the incoming students... like a med school frosh/orientation week. I'm sure your school will put on similar activities. We had a number of organized lunches for all students, outdoor events, ceremonies, skills workshops, group outtings, cultural tours, etc. There are pros and cons to meeting friends in this setting. You'll run into a lot of new people whose names it will likely be tough to remember, but it's a great way to warm up to your classmates if you deal well with the large group scenario. As amichel mentioned, all of these events can get pretty tiring and you're sort of limited to small talk given the nature of the group setting. You can still find some meaningful connections, nonetheless :).

 

Smaller outings & FB meds groups:

If you prefer smaller groups where you have a chance to chat to fewer people in more meaningful ways, check out the FB groups that will inevitably form. We have meds FB sports groups, intramural teams, an outdoorsy group, etc. This is likely an easier way to run into people that have more similar interests as you as well.

 

Small group work:

I'm not sure how your school will work, but UofC has many small group sessions as part of the curriculum. If you're with the same group for an extended period of time, you're pretty much guaranteed to get to know one another better. One other suggestion would be to follow suit of a few of my classmates. They made it a point to sit next to new people each day in lectures, which I thought was a nice way to connect with your new colleagues. You'll meet so many amazing people in your class through the course of the next few years.

 

Outside of school:

If you have some specific interests or just want to try something new, check out meetup.com or other similar sites. This is a great way to get together with a pretty random group of people and do something interesting. The other benefit is that it's actually nice to have friends outside of med. One thing you may find is that when the workload gets heavy, many of your classmates (and you) will probably feel the stress. While it's good to have one another as support, it's also nice to have a break from the intensity. Having someone outside of meds to chill with is a good opportunity :).

 

Making a big move for a big, new, exciting, awesome endeavour can definitely have its challenges. There will be many opportunities to connect with others, but my overall advice is to choose what works best for you. Don't feel pressured to do things that are way out of your comfort zone. While pushing yourself a little bit to be more social can be good, I don't think you should feel pressured to participate in a social activity.

 

Hopefully that's helpful and best of luck in the coming weeks--congratulations!

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As an introvert, don't force yourself to make friends. Push yourself a bit to be open, and always be friendly, but be yourself. Otherwise you may end up pursuing friends you don't actually like, or waste your time struggling to be someone you are not in a group you don't want to be in. Naturally, it may take more time to establish yourself, however, you can be happy with the outcome when it happens. There are a lot of other people out there who don't enjoy the "mass socialization," the problem being that they are similarly hard to find.

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As an introvert, don't force yourself to make friends. Push yourself a bit to be open, and always be friendly, but be yourself. Otherwise you may end up pursuing friends you don't actually like, or waste your time struggling to be someone you are not in a group you don't want to be in. Naturally, it may take more time to establish yourself, however, you can be happy with the outcome when it happens. There are a lot of other people out there who don't enjoy the "mass socialization," the problem being that they are similarly hard to find.

 

Love this!

 

It's the approach I tried to take because it's not comfortable for me to be thrown in an area with tons of new people and told to go meet everyone in a week. Meet people in small groups or individually and try to connect on a personal level. As introverts, we thrive on that. And don't go out of your way to impress others that are more social and outgoing. Sorry to plug, but the blog post that I just did like 5 mins ago is about how uncomfortably social we had to be in orientation. Take time and observe the social dynamics around you, target smaller groups or individuals to meet, and ease into it. If I had to go into a group of 20 and had to have small talk, I wouldn't have survived. Instead, I aimed to meet 5 new people each event or day and just branch out that way. Now, I can still focus on closer relationships over the year but have decent familiarity with others to be able to become close with them...just over a longer period now

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Love this!

 

It's the approach I tried to take because it's not comfortable for me to be thrown in an area with tons of new people and told to go meet everyone in a week. Meet people in small groups or individually and try to connect on a personal level. As introverts, we thrive on that. And don't go out of your way to impress others that are more social and outgoing. Sorry to plug, but the blog post that I just did like 5 mins ago is about how uncomfortably social we had to be in orientation. Take time and observe the social dynamics around you, target smaller groups or individuals to meet, and ease into it. If I had to go into a group of 20 and had to have small talk, I wouldn't have survived. Instead, I aimed to meet 5 new people each event or day and just branch out that way. Now, I can still focus on closer relationships over the year but have decent familiarity with others to be able to become close with them...just over a longer period now

Right, but you went to the events and sought out smaller groups, rather than not going. I think that's important. You don't have to meet everyone at once but you do have to give yourself opportunities to meet people.
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Right, but you went to the events and sought out smaller groups, rather than not going. I think that's important. You don't have to meet everyone at once but you do have to give yourself opportunities to meet people.

 

Yes, it's worth a shot. When it got to a point that I didn't want to stay or felt people were going out of hand, I just left. Spending time with old friends and family and loved ones or being alone helped me recharge so everything didn't seem so overwhelming. 

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Agreed. Forcing yourself towards groups of people who are naturally extroverted (when you aren't) is not really in your best interest. My advice: Approach people who aren't really socializing as much--you'd find that there are several people in your class who feel just the same as you, and will be happy you approached them. 

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Another UofC perspective, from a few years ago: I attended some, not all, of the activities at the start of med because I find too many social outings mentally and emotionally exhausting--again, I present as an approachable extrovert but I am more of an introvert who finds her energy sucked out of her from too many large group activities! Attend what you want, some is better than none! Take a couple risks. And of course--feel free to reach out to other PM101ers!

 

I picked and chose my events--never a bar star so went to one or two of those and then was done--and through a mix of some orientation week activities, small group, and small talk I found my peer group. We are tight even though we have ended up at many different schools for residency.

 

I echo the statement to keep up activities and formation of friendships outside of medicine!!!! It is easy to eat, sleep, play all medicine all the time...but sometimes it is good to just engage with non-medicine folks and you'll instantly feel re-energized.

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This thread is honestly very reassuring to read through. I was talking to some of my high school friends the other day about how absolutely terrified I was to go to my first day at medical school, it felt like moving to a new place all over again. Doesn't help that I'm very introverted and quiet. But I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed getting to know everyone. I think everybody is a little nervous in the first week and they are all also looking to get to know the class. People are a lot more friendly and more open, and you yourself are the same so associations just click. Which is awesome.

 

There really isn't a "you can't sit with us" mentality in the school, which is what I really dreaded. I found that once I got to know one person it was far easier to approach others and also introduce myself to them. 

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I love this thread!! Like most people here, I'm also pretty introverted, though not anti-social. O-week has been fun and exciting, but also a bit overwhelming and exhausting at times. Small talk and superficial connections aren't really my thing, neither is standing in a circle with a large group trying to get my voice heard. That's why it's good to hear that there are still lots of opportunities to form deep relationships.

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  • 4 weeks later...

You're very likely to be in the same boat as everyone else, you can't really gather a bunch of your friends in UG and decide to all go to, say, UofT Medicine. Obviously because of the chances of being admitted to an M.D. program :P

 

So don't worry, be yourself! you're obviously at the very least, slightly sociable and personable considering you passed the interview process :)

 

Good luck & enjoy Med school!!

 

That's not necessarily true. There are groups of people who know each other from undergrad or from rez, and that makes is harder for outsiders because those groups naturally keep together.

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