Whether you're leaving home to start uni in a new town or city, or you're going to uni in your hometown, one of the biggest concerns for new students is "How am I going to make new friends?"
Now, some of you may be super confident and will have no problem putting yourself out there to meet new people. But quite a lot of new students do worry about meeting and making new friends, not to mention finding their way around a new town or city.
If you're feeling that way, the first thing to remember is that you are not alone!
There are some simple, tried-and-tested ways to get to know people when you first start uni. We've listed some below:
Connect with people before you start
We cover this in more detail in week 50, but the easiest way to get to know your neighbours in halls or your classmates, even before you start uni, is through social media. Most universities will have various freshers Facebook groups for you to join and start mingling. So make sure you follow your chosen university on their channels.
Leave your door open and lend a hand
If you're moving in to halls or into a house share, prop your door open while you're moving into your room and sorting stuff out (if you're unsure about what stuff to bring, check out last week's article). People will be walking past all the time, and it's a great way to show that you're up for meeting new people. And once you're all moved in, why not head for the kitchen or social areas to see who's around there. Obvious topics of conversation will be names, where you're from, what you're studying, etc – a great ice breaker, seeing as you're all in the same situation.
Also, if you've finished moving all your stuff in but people are still arriving, offer to help them out. No one's going to turn down a helping hand and if you've already had a look around, you can point them in the direction of the kitchen or the laundry room. Being kind to someone will always be remembered.
It's fair to say that free food is a great way to get people flocking to your door on moving in day! Some home-made cakes or biscuits, or even just a few tubes of Pringles will be sniffed out in no time and will very likely earn you popularity points! If you check out our useful links, you'll see some recipes.
Uni clubs and societies are a great place to meet and make new friends. As well as many of you being new students, you'll all have a common interest. Check out the societies at your uni's welcome week or freshers' fair. Many societies are run by students' unions, so you could do a bit of pre-uni research on their websites to see what societies there are to join. Get a head start by reading our week 51 article.
Go to events
There are usually a number of freshers' events organised by universities. Party animals will probably be looking forward to freshers' nights out, which are often organised by students' unions. But, nights out aren't everyone's cup of tea. So, if you're not a night owl, there will be loads of daytime events and activities all aimed at helping you to get to know one another and get your bearings around campus and in town.
Living at home?
Lots of students choose to go to uni in their home town and live with their parents, for a variety of reasons. This doesn't mean you'll necessarily miss out on what students living away from home experience, and certainly shouldn't make it any harder to meet and make new friends, although you may have to make more of a concerted effort.
You might find that by not living on campus or in halls your friends may be more course-based, unless you join any societies, of course. But if you can, going on a few nights out will help you meet other first years.
Weirdly, you may also find that you become good friends with other students who live at home - you've definitely got that in common!
Plus, you've got a bit of an advantage over those who've moved to your home town, which can be a great way to meet new people – you know your way around! So, if you spot a fellow first year looking a bit lost or wanting to know where a good place is in town to get a coffee, you'll know exactly where to point them to. Again, being helpful gets remembered.
Take your time
Remember, though, you'll meet tons of people while you're at uni, and the people you meet in your first couple of weeks may not end up being your friends for life.
Just remember to be yourself, be nice, and you'll make lots of friends, be it those you know for sure you'll stay in touch with after uni and beyond, or those who you'll just stop and have a chat to while you're making dinner or walking to lectures. Everyone is just as important and will help to make your time at uni the best time!
Tasks for this week:
- See if there are any groups on social media for first years at your uni.
- Check out any clubs or societies on your uni's students' union website before you start.
- Start perfecting your cake-baking for food treats on moving in day!