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Tight

A question from College Confidential.

I’m a freshman at Williams and really like my entry as a whole, but I can only see myself being good friends with one or two of them. I know people in other entries who are already really tight with their suitemates or entrymates, and my JAs said that their best friends now were all in their entry freshman year. Do most people stay really close to their entrymates all four years and not really make other friends? I’m afraid that I won’t have a close group of friends because everyone else will have just their entry friends after spending most of the year together.

Interesting discussion with lots of good advice follows. Regular readers will know what occurred to me: Great topic for a senior thesis! What is the friendship network among Williams students? How does it form and change over time?

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#1 Comment By RoxforJox On October 26, 2007 @ 1:40 pm

I always felt like the more interesting a person was, the less firmly bound he was to his entrymates.

then again, maybe I’m just flattering myself.

#2 Comment By Aidan On October 26, 2007 @ 2:07 pm

don’t let the pro-entry propaganda fool you. There are always loud pro-entry folks, and they’ll loudly tell you what they want to believe, but the silent majority hardly feels that way.

#3 Comment By driver On October 26, 2007 @ 2:16 pm

My ’07’s best friends were all from outside the “entry.” I think there’s an attempt at Williams to equate entries with the residential college system at Yale and the House system at Harvard, but they’re not really big enough nor do they have the requisite gravity to pull that off. In the end, it reminded me of nothing more than my own freshman dormitory floor at college…I had a couple of good friends there, but there really wasn’t anything tying us together other than the same stop on the elevator. You’ll find your life-long friends in your classes and in your ECs. If you want friends forever, try WUFO.

#4 Comment By frank uible On October 26, 2007 @ 2:39 pm

Are we so socially insecure that it is necessary or desirable to discuss this subject?

#5 Comment By Guy Creese ’75 On October 27, 2007 @ 10:28 am

I lived on third floor East my freshman year, and never really bonded with my entry. My roommate and I were the only non-preppies, so there was a certain amount of “not of our kind” attitude. By happy accident my roommate and I started eating with first floor Fayerweather and some women from Sage, and that became our adopted entry. I also became friends with my upperclass roommates.

I wouldn’t worry about it too much–you become friends with those you enjoy spending time and having deep discussions with and you become an acquaintance to others. Friendship is based on clicking, not on location.

#6 Comment By eph ’07 On October 28, 2007 @ 2:50 pm

Just because a lot of people find close friends in their entries doesn’t mean if you don’t, you won’t have close friends – student organizations and activities bring together people with more in common than the 20 students in an entry.

Also, in my experience the social landscape changes a lot junior year when people study abroad and those still on campus have to mix with different groups. When everyone returns senior year social circles are wider and less divided, and lots of old acquaintances become friends, which is great.

I think this upperclass social shift is one of the things cluster housing gets really, really wrong – now what happens when 5 of the 6 people in your entry-based pick group from freshman year suddenly go to Oxford? In my case, I had another distinct group of friends to live and hang out with. With the new system it’s difficult (impossible? I don’t know the current “opt out” rules) to pick in with a group of friends in other neighborhoods whom you know through common activities. That doesn’t mean you won’t find people in your neighborhood who were acquaintances and become close to them through necessity, as will happen eventually anyway, but it makes things harder than necessary.