The social reset button University offers is both a blessing and a curse. Free from the confines of high school and the limited friendship options that come with it, stepping onto campus for the first time represents boundless possibilities. However, it’s really freaking intimidating also. Many students struggle in making friends at uni, and those friendships are very crucial to getting you through your degree.
Luckily, I managed to make the most of the transition and quickly found myself with an abundance of wonderful new friends. It wasn’t effortless, I just worked really hard to meet new people and put myself out there. Here are just some suggestions for sparking those connections that might light up to become eternal friendship flames.
1: Go to everything at O-Week. This week is held for a reason and everyone is on the same page – it’s time to meet people and fast. Go to your faculty welcome, the student union fresher party and the speed friending. You don’t want to miss the boat, as people tend to be less open after the reality of semester sinks in.
2. Strike up a conversation to the person sitting right next to you in your first class. I made the best friend of my entire degree doing so and those notes always came in super handy around exam time.
3. Go to your faculty camp. Along with O-Week, this is the other sure-fire way to make friends. You can be sure to see them around over the next few years, so better become friends now in preparation for collective meltdown come exam time.
4. Join clubs and societies. You have interests right? Well finding people at University with similar interests means you’ll have something to talk about – the basis of any good friendship!
5. The same goes for student sporting teams. Those who sweat together stick together.
6. Join student theatre. If the stage calls to you, nearly every campus has a healthy performing arts scene.
7. Get involved in student activism. No matter your political leanings, there really is nothing better than shared political passion to bond you to others. In no time at all, you’ll be singing the Internationale with your new found comrades.
The Next Steps
8. Start organising events! Most societies are run by volunteer executives, so once you’ve found your place start giving back!
9. Hang out at the student pub. Alcohol is a social lubricant for a reason. Many a close friendship has been formed over a jug of beer.
10. Join study groups. Starting a reading circle dedicated to exploring critical race theory or simply collaboratively creating Law notes is an easy segway to fast friendship.
11. Most Universities have autonomous women’s, queer and ethnocultural spaces that allow people with shared oppressions to connect and support each other.
12. Join online groups for your University. They are a great way to stay abreast of the campus happenings.
13. Live on campus. This was the best decision I made in my first year – it’s a lot easier to build on friendships when you don’t have an arduous commute to make things difficult. If you can’t afford to in this horror show of a rental market, stick around after class and make peace with late-night travel.
14. Keep trying. Universities generally have thousands of students. If you haven’t found your tribe yet, keep looking. Also, if you’ve made friends stay open to making new ones – some of my best mates came from the final years of my studies.
15. Be you. You don’t need to try fit in anymore, the diversity of people at University makes that unnecessary and so very high school. Present the most honest and authentic version of yourself and you can rest assured someone will vibe it.