The best thing I can think to say is try to approach it as low risk/high reward, don't put other people on pedestals, and acknowledge that you're all strangers and they're probably not completely confident about it either, but it's ultimately more likely than not that they're fundamentally nice people who are looking to socialise and make friends themselves.
I'm trying, but I struggle because I've met so many people who seemed nice enough at first, but then they become total assholes. And I'm afraid to go through that again
This may seem sad, but from my experience it's easier to approach the opposite sex. Not for romantic gains but for more support. Then once you've gained those connections get to know males alike, but it's harder to pick them out of the crowd when you've no one to point them out. I've always been shy and got along with guys more. Once you've got your close friends they will be by your side to help you through the anxiety and woman are generally more empathetic than males. Chin up :) I'm going through the same sort of anxiety, I was forced to do home school nearly all of my school years and this year I will do my last year of learning at a proper highschool in hope to better my qualifications. It's going to be scary, but I'm being optimistic about it. I will make new friends in the area I'm now living and try to stay out of too much conflict.
I definitely feel more comfortable around women, so I've kinda been thinking along those lines too. I just feel if there's not some form of connection, like i can't just randomly say 'hi' unless i have something to say. I'm hoping to be able to use class as an excuse eventually, but no luck so far.