Douglas College just isn’t a place to make friends

Image via Thinkstock
Image via Thinkstock

The sad truth of our alma mater

By Cazzy Lewchuk, Opinions Editor

I went to Douglas College for two and a half years, near continuously, taking at least one class every semester—even over the summer. I’ve had a lot of great opportunities. I got an associate’s degree through a really great creative writing program. I saved a lot of money on tuition compared to attending a larger university. I also made some really great friends through getting involved with the very newspaper you’re reading now.

One thing I’m disappointed with in my time here is the lack of a social atmosphere. Although there are a few people I stayed in touch with, I never made a lot of friends in my classes. It could be because I’m a social pariah incapable of making any human connection, but I’m definitely not the only one who’s had this experience. The sad truth is that Douglas just isn’t a very friendly or social place.

We’re not here to make friends. We’re here for an education. Naturally, we want to bond with others and enjoy ourselves in the process. But Douglas’ structure does not loan itself well to having the all-inclusive college experience. It’s a commuter school; people come from all across the Lower Mainland to study here, often facing hours of commuting time. A lot of us are older, have unique educational goals, or have full-time jobs in addition to our education. While many classes tend to lean towards a certain demographic, every class at Douglas has a wide range of people.

Naturally, there’s nothing wrong with diversity, and making friends outside of the group you usually do can be a really rewarding experience. But the “birds of a feather” expression remains true: We look for people who share our goals and interests, and that’s not always easy in your classes. This is especially true if you’re not in a designated program, meaning you’re not likely to have more than one or two classes with the same people.

Perhaps more significant to the unfriendly vibe is the general atmosphere of the school. There’s not a lot to do here. As fun as the DSU-organized activities attempt to be, there’s not much to partake in after you get out of class. There aren’t a lot of comfortable areas to socialize in—especially outdoors, unlike other schools. Douglas already feels like a windowless prison, why would we want to spend any more time in that building?

Beginning and end of semester activities can help to break the social tension, but those are often crowded and perhaps not activities that people who don’t like clubs or pubs would want to be a part of. It’s even harder when you don’t have friends at the school, and you face the task of attending something like that yourself.

Making friends at Douglas isn’t impossible, but it definitely requires extra effort. If you’re eager to make friends—especially if it’s your first year—talk to others as much as possible and really follow through. Friends won’t come naturally at Douglas; there are too many limiting factors. Being extra social and friendly is a good activity to pursue in post-secondary, anyways, and you never know what could happen.