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Once you finish college you will probably agree that you learnt the most important lessons of your life when you finished school.
Take the wildest, wackiest, most bizarre situation in school, multiply that by raging hormones and unbounded curiosity and you have your first day at college. Yes, it's the big day -- the day your parents nod their heads, hug you and hope that the big bad world doesn't devour you like a quick snack.
You are just out of school, and after classrooms filled with students of the same sex, co-education is a welcome change, isn't it? So, irrespective of whether you are a girl who hates boys, or a bustling lad who doesn't make friends with girls, co-education in college will prepare you for the crazy journey called life.
Here are a few pointers on how to make it through:
What do I do? What do I say? Should I? Will she? What will they think? Does he? The first rule is 'Stop thinking!'. The moment you begin to think, you become self conscious and this will show.
Keep in mind everyone else is feeling the same. After years of rules and discipline in school, the change in environment, the sudden responsibility, the immediate freedom and the undiluted excitement of starting a new phase of life is bound to cause a lot of uncertainty.
So, just be confident of who you are. Don't look at the other person as an alien (and if you are seeing aliens, let them know that you come in peace).
The first step is over, you are not thinking (or at least not to hard). The next thing you should imprint the phrase 'don't panic' on your brain. This is the single most important piece of advice that will help you through college, and then some. Now, there are those of you who may be shy, and it's to be expected that after years of interacting with friends mostly of the same sex, college appears like going deep-sea diving after swimming in the kiddie pool.
So dispel those jitters, and smile at the opposite sex (and smiling doesn't mean you like someone), it just means you are trying to be friendly or nice.
Introduce yourself, don't impose yourself. Be comfortable with yourself and others will feel comfortable with you. Talk to people and you will find common points of interest. Join interest groups. Take part in activities, in fact, join everything! There will be plenty of time to find out if you really like it, and this way you know you aren't missing out on any of the fun.
Once you have a group of friends (you can start of by making same sex friends) and you feel secure in those friendships, network with their friends. This is not an unachievable feat in an age where we've all used some sort of online friends' network; only this time, you're not a thumbnail!
Don't go overboard!
So there is this girl�and you think she is pretty or maybe there is this boy who is really cute. What do you do to break the ice? Would you seem too keen, as a girl, to make conversation? Or maybe, as a guy, you may come on to strong (flirtatious). Whatever you decide to do, remember that any excess is bad.
So don't be over-eager, don't be too imposing, needy or even detached. Be calm, the opposite sex (whoever they may be) is as curious and cautious as you. So whoever initiates conversation is already taking that giant leap.
Remember, don't change just because you are in college -- that will happen invariably as you grow up. Don't ever try to be fake or pretentious, or even say you enjoy things you actually don't.
Rules of interaction
There is no set of rules or things to do that will guarantee successful interactions with the opposite sex. What you have to keep in mind is the fact that relationships are built on trust.
Through school you have been with people you trust, which is especially common in girls (they are very close to their peers), boys on the other hand have a different bonding. But when the two mix, the equation is unbalanced, making girls wary of the boys' intentions. This is understandable, with the stereotypes that have been created by the media, but that doesn't mean you ignore them completely.
You may have had disagreements with the opposite sex in school but if you were in a same sex school, the interactions with the opposite sex would be limited to friends or maybe tuition batchmates. At college, though, the interaction and time spent with the opposite sex is much more, you may have to work on projects together or maybe organise college fests.
So, cast away those shackles of uniformed cottons and the pangs of uncertainty, and step into the vibrant and exceedingly colourful shades of college life.
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