Chapter 2: Hi, I’m Mia! Please Be My Friend!

Once I had officially decided to go to Pace University, the next step was to find friends and someone I feel comfortable to live with. Pace has a designated building where freshmen live, so I couldn’t live with my friend since they were two years older. Even if I could, though, I didn’t want to. I knew that if I chose to live with someone I already knew, I would be too scared to branch out on my own and I wanted the independence of finding my own friend.

Part of my Facebook post from the Pace Facebook group for incoming freshman

So for the first time in several months (maybe even years), I opened up Facebook and edited my profile before searching for Pace University Facebook groups. The groups are student-made as a way to find fellow incoming classmates and potential roommates. I found two groups, joined both, and began adding almost everyone I thought wasn’t intimidating on Snapchat. Honestly, it felt like a dating app. Sometimes I would hit it off with people, and other times we would say hi and then instantly stop talking.

By June I was getting nervous, because the deadline for finding a roommate was coming up and I still hadn’t really clicked with anyone. It was also important I felt comfortable in my own room and because it was 2020, I wanted to make sure I was living with someone who respected COVID guidelines.

Me and Kathy after we both moved in

A few days into June I received a DM (direct message) from someone on Instagram. At first I was confused as to who this person was, but then I realized they found me from the Pace Facebook group, so I responded to her message. Instantly we clicked. We had all the same interests, were both nervous but willing to meet new people on campus, and were careful with COVID. Kathy (her name) and I ended up chatting everyday and eventually found the rest of our suitemates (the freshmen building had suites instead of just a classic two person or three person dorm).

With my suitemates and I texting each other every day, the idea of going to college seemed less intimidating now that I had more than just one friend. I was beginning to get excited as we all texted each other about what one person was packing, what movies we would watch on movie nights, and what clubs we were all interested in.

Me and a couple of my suitemates

If you’re an incoming freshman, I strongly recommend searching for any type of online group to meet new people. Having some form of established relationships will definitely help ease the anxiety of moving away from home. Even if you eventually find new friends or fall out with the old ones, you will always still have that bond with your freshman roommates. Nothing can take away that old nostalgic feeling of moving in for the first time and taking your first steps into the real world with these people. 

My suitemates and I would attend different events on campus, a lot of them virtual, some of them with social distancing, and together we all found friends. To this day, I’m still friends with my freshman year roommate and suitemate, and I’m forever grateful for them and the steps of courage we took together. We don’t live with each other anymore, but we still support each other and hang out together when we can.

However, I think my suitemates and I did have one unfair advantage that helped us grow close early on. Normal suitemates or roommates have a special bond because they are entering the real world together, but my suitemates and I actually didn’t get to take any steps outside because for two weeks we were all locked in our suite thanks to an increase in COVID cases. That’s right…in October, the entire freshman building got put into lockdown, forcing everyone to stay in their rooms for a whole two weeks.

To this day we still make jokes about how we were all trauma bonded because of this. We had to stay in our rooms, have crappy food delivered to our dorms, and watch movies almost every night to keep us from going insane. COVID may have made our freshman year difficult, but it also gave us a suitemate bond like no other.

I’d also like to mention the fact that, despite my suitemates and I helping each other out with meeting new people, my specific roommate Kathy was like a professional “friend maker.” Almost everyday she was introducing me to someone new. Thanks to Kathy, I met some of my best friends, one being my current roommate in my senior year!

My current roommate (middle), one of my best friends (on the right), and I on Halloween 2020. We all connected thanks to Kathy!

Another tip if you’re an introverted freshman like I was, make sure to meet someone who is very extroverted like Kathy is. This way, you’ll always be meeting someone new and each day will be exciting, and really that’s what every day of your freshman year should feel like. Even if you’re dealing with a global pandemic.


  • Why Facebook groups are helpful before going to college
  • Go to events and clubs on campus! It’s the best way to meet friends!
  • Freshman year is all about excitement and meeting new people, don’t be afraid to try new things

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By Mia Ilie

Mia Ilie is a student at Pace University, graduating in May 2024 with a degree in Writing and Rhetoric and a focus on publishing. She grew up in Rockland, New York and is currently living in Westchester, New York where she attends school and works at a local bookstore. You can always find her with her nose in a book or screaming to Taylor Swift with her friends.

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