How To Make Friends When You Start University
I know that you’ve come to this article to find out how to make friends at uni. But firstly, I need you to do a little celebration dance – even if you’ve already done it multiple times: you got into uni! Congratulations! I’m doing my own little celebration dance for you.
When I went to uni I moved away from a small town to a city that was four hours away from my family home. I was worried. I was scared. What if I wasn’t good enough? What if I was too weird or just not what people were expecting? What if everything was too overwhelming?
(Spoiler alert: while it was scary and overwhelming at times, I found people at uni who understand me on a level that few other people do and who I still count as my best friends years on.)
You’re starting a new adventure and that can be really scary, but keep in mind that you are by no means alone. Thousands of people are in the same position (and no doubt some of them are reading this article or articles that are very similar!).
There are loads of ways to make friends at uni, from meeting people on your course to joining societies or volunteering. Below are a few ways to get yourself out there and make some friends at uni.
Talk to the person sitting next to you
When you’ve shown up to class and you don’t know anyone, the easiest way to make a friend is to say hello to the person sitting next to you. You’ve got something in common already: you’re sitting in the same classroom and studying the same thing.
Talk about your course, talk about where you’re both from, find out if they play any sport or musical instruments. Starting conversations is as simple as that.
I found one of my best friends when we were looking for the same classroom together. A year later we had moved into a flat together and nearly a decade later we’re still great friends.
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If you’ve seen any memes about group-work, you know it can be a bit of a mess. But what you don’t generally hear about is that sometimes when you force a group of people together in an environment like a uni, magic happens, unbreakable bonds are formed and people find friends for life.
Societies are the lifeblood of the university social side. Not only can you learn a new skill, keep practising an old one, play a sport or have a few laughs, you essentially sign up and instantly have a bunch of new friends.
The people who run societies don’t do it just because they love the sport/language/other society-related thing. They also run them because they love people. They love meeting new people, helping people make friends and just having a grand time. Join in!
Love giving back? Most people who volunteer do, which is why volunteering is such a fantastic way to make friends with people who have the same mindset as you. Most universities or student unions have volunteering opportunities available for students that cover a whole range of different things – events, working with the community, organising things and more. Have a chat to your student union to see what opportunities they have available.
Join social groups like the City Girl Network
The City Girl Network is full of people who either know how you feel, have moved to a new city, or are up for making friends. Join the network, come along to events, or put a post up in the Facebook group looking for people from your uni – you never know who you might find!
It’s also always a good idea to have friends outside of uni who can keep you grounded and distract you with non-uni things when it all gets a bit overwhelming.
To make friends you’ve sometimes got to step out of your comfort zone. Don’t be too hard on yourself at the start either. Be yourself, relax and ease yourself into this new adventure.
It’s scary but it is oh-so worth it and, when you’ve made friends, you’ll look back on this time and wonder what you were worried about.
Written by Rowena Grant
She’s an Australian who started four different degrees (and finished two… well, most of the second one) and who 100% supports you in your new uni adventure! You can read more at www.theunpreparedtraveller.com or see what she’s up to on Instagram: @rowena_rat or @theunpreparedtraveller