Written by Jasmine Cattigan
LLB (Hons) Law
If you’re currently reading this blog post, then I think it’s relatively safe for me to assume that 1) you’re starting university in September (how exciting!) and 2) you’re slightly worried about the whole ‘making new friends’ aspect of uni. Rewind 12 months and I was in the exact same position as you guys – excited, nervous and worried that maybe my social capabilities, or rather in-capabilities, would let me down on the making friends front.
One year on and I have already made friends for life, shared experiences and created memories with so many new people- so many new friends. And the best part was that it was actually so easy! I’ve therefore written some varied ‘tried and tested’ ways of making friends at uni which will hopefully become useful for you:
- Facebook friends
As I’ve mentioned, I was very nervous about making new friends at uni and just generally starting university. I thought a good way to make it all a little less daunting for me would be to try and start talking to some other freshers before I actually started. I therefore managed to find a general Bournemouth freshers Facebook group and a group for all freshers who were to be living in my halls, these are created every year so they’re specific to your starting dates. On these groups I managed to contact lots of course mates and find my flatmates. This was so helpful as it made me realise that everyone was in the same boat- everyone was just as nervous and wanted to make friends just as much. And when I then met them in real life it was like speaking to a friend anyway, which made settling in a lot easier- the wonders of social media!
- Making the effort with flatmates
Your flatmates will probably be the first and closest friends you make to begin with at university- after all you will be living with them for a year! It’s therefore quite important that you make an effort to get to know them; it’s very easy to just stay in your room and only venture out when needing food but guaranteed that if you just try, as hard as it may be for some of you, to make conversation and spend time with them, particularly in freshers’ week, your whole experience will be ten times better.
Generic conversation topics can include where they’re originally from, what they’re studying and why they chose to come to Bournemouth. I found these were good starting points, which allowed conversation to flow and friendships to be established!
- Love your neighbour
During Freshers’, especially if you live in halls, the second group of people you are most likely to befriend are your neighbours! It’s also good to get to know who those around you are. An easy way of doing this is to simply go round and knock on their door and introduce yourself; you don’t have to do this on your own of course, you can all go round as a flat! Other ways are to meet them at any flat parties that might be going on or if you’re brave enough host your own and invite them! My flatmates and I opted for knocking on their door and a year later we’re like one big mismatched family!
- Friends of friends
You’ll also often find that once you’ve made one friend, they’ll introduce you to another friend they’ve made. This can happen like a domino effect and by the time you’re a couple of weeks in you will have made quite a few friends already.
- Seminars = the start of course socialising
Once you actually start your course you’ll meet your seminar group which will consist of about 10- 15 of you and other course mates to go over what was covered in lectures and have a more concentrated period of time with your lecturer for any help and support. Seminars are more intimate and can involve a lot of group work – the perfect setting and opportunity to get to know people more! Again, the main thing is to just try to make the effort to converse with people. You all clearly have a common interest so try to engage with them about the subject as well as the generic examples already given e.g. why do they enjoy the subject? Have the studied it before? Do they know what career they’d like to do with it?
This is also a great chance to get to know you lecturers as you’ll be working with them over the next 3-4 years also!
- Get involved!
It’s always nice to make friends with others outside your course too and one of the easiest and most fun ways of doing so is by joining a club or society. During freshers’ week be sure to go to the freshers’ fair and sign up to as many as possible. Again, this may seem really daunting for some of you, it definitely was for me, but stepping outside your comfort zone can really pay off and you can end up meeting some amazing people and making great friends. And remember everyone will be feeling as nervous as you – whether they show it or not!
So once you’ve promised your mum you won’t drink too much, said your emotional goodbyes to your family and unpacked everything you somehow managed to cram into the car, just remember a couple of these tips and you’ll be ready to embark on probably the most exciting year of your life so far –Good Luck!
By Jasmine Cattigan