I don’t know about you guys but before University, I’d always had a solid group of friends that I grew up with, so never really thought twice about having to meet new people and make new friends. But of course, when September 2017 rolled by, and my friends and I all went on our separate ways to different Universities, panic started to set in. “What if I don’t make any friends?” “What if I can’t find anyone with the same interests as me?” “What if I have to sit on my own in lectures?!” These were my thoughts as I walked into Welcome Week, and by the end of the first day, I had forgotten all about them. Because guess what? Making friends was shockingly, very easy.
But, before I get into my top tips on how to make friends, I think it’s important to emphasise that everybody is in the same boat as you when starting University. Because of this, the normal, awkward, making friends phase does not really exist as EVERYBODY wants to make friends!
So, to give you some more reassurance, here are some steps that I took to “get myself out there”:
Join your chosen University’s Facebook Group
- This is a great way for you to meet people that are going to the same University as you. From here, you can find your course mates, your future society friends, and even your flat mates!
- Join in on the different group chats that they offer – I joined in on the Psychology chat (as that is what I study) and the UOL Freshers Chat to keep up to date on Freshers’ events. This is how I started to really hit it off with people
- Set up a coffee date with the group chat before the start of term. Me and some of the guys in the Psychology chat ended up arranging a lunch date before one of our welcome talks on the first day. It was great being able to walk into the room with people by my side already. It really took the edge off and I ended up meeting some of my current close friends there.
Join in on the most anticipated week of University…FRESHERS Week!
- This is a great way to make friends, as everybody is 100 times friendlier once they’ve had a few sips of liquid courage
- When it comes to pre-drinking – most people either drink with their new flatmates or they go to a meet up. Pre-drink plans for the first few nights of Freshers are normally posted in the group chat for everybody to join in so make sure you do!
- Don’t be afraid to message people from the chat either to ask what their plans are – more often than not, they want as many people as possible out on their first night of University so will gladly have you along!
- As part of Freshers Week – The University of Leicester also hosts a Freshers Fair, which includes the Society fair. This is where you get to go around and meet the different societies, Leicester has to offer. You can sign up to sports teams, dance crews, film clubs and more! This is the perfect chance for you to meet people with similar interests.
Meeting Like-Minded People
- As I said above, the Freshers Fair is great for meeting like-minded people, but a great place to start with making friends is with those in your flat! Don’t be afraid to knock on your neighbour’s door and introduce yourself, or even, propose that you and your flatmates get together on the first night and cook a meal or have a drink with each other. You guys will be living together for the next year so it’s important to start things off on the right foot.
- Another obvious place to start is making friends with people on your course, because, well, they’re studying the same thing as you so that’s one interest that you guys share already!
Say Hello to that Stranger
- We often hear our parents telling us not to talk to strangers, but unfortunately, in the vast new environment of University, this rule does not apply
- It is perfectly OKAY to approach people! Like I said before, everybody wants to make friends, so it’s very unlikely that they’ll tell you to go away. They’re more likely to ask you for your Instagram or Facebook and then BOOM, you’ve got yourself a new friend.
- Don’t be afraid to sit next to somebody in the lecture hall and talk to them! You can ask them about how they’re settling in, if they’re enjoying freshers or even, if they want to go grab a coffee after class!
Saying YES is the key
- I made it my mission to say YES to every opportunity that came my way. Whether it was coffee meet ups, pre-drinks, or Freshers’ event. I wanted to experience it all and meet new people! So, I highly suggest that you do the same thing. “Yes” is a small word, but it has a big impact.
- Aside from social events, saying YES to things like voluntary work or paid jobs around the University is also a great way to meet new people. AND you get to make some extra money on the side – what a win-win situation!
And finally, RELAX
- You’re meant to be at University to have a good time so don’t sweat the small stuff! You will make friends and you will settle in fine – just give it time!
The first few weeks of Uni will be tough especially with things like trying to find your way round a new city and bouts of homesickness but just chill out. You’ll get the hang of things eventually!
But until then, put on your best smile and get yourself out there!
See you all on the flipside,