Sunday, 2 July 2017

How to Make Friends at University

I'm so sorry if this title comes across as super patronising, that is not my intention.  Of course this is not going to be a step by step on how you actually go about making a friend, but instead is a few tips on how to break the ice with your flat mates and how to maximise your opportunities of meeting new people. 

Do not stay in your room
I know it is scarily overwhelming arriving in your new halls, saying goodbye to your family and having to deal with the prospect that this incredibly foreign place is going to be your 'home' for the next year.  Therefore, I know how easy it is to just shut yourself in your room whilst you try and make sense of this new situation you have found yourself in.  BUT DO NOT DO THIS.  Go and chill out in the kitchen and hallway, introduce yourself to your new flatmates, find out a bit about them. If you are feeling really kind, bake them some cakes before you arrive and offer them around (or just buy some from Tesco if you're a bit lazy like me).  If your kitchen is empty and you don't want to stay in there alone, buy a door wedge and keep your door OPEN. That way you will be able to hear when people are outside and you will look much more approachable.  It is always good to suss out what your flat mates are like from the beginning even if you don't all end up being best buds - after all, you will be living with them for the next year.
Know your neighbours
From night one, go knock on your neighbours door, introduce yourselves and invite them all round for pre drinks.  It's a great way to break the ice and you may find that you get on really well with them.  Also, it's always fun to have lots of people round for drinks before you go out! (Disclaimer: it's not as fun in the morning when you have to clean up).

Do not fret if you and your flat mates do not hit it off

Do not worry your little head if you and your flat mates are completely different people to one another and you cannot see the friendship going any further than your flat door.  You have been randomly placed into a flat with 5 or more people from all across the country, or even the world - it does not make you weird if you do not have any common interests.  In fact, It makes you more normal.  80% of students do not have the same friends at the end of first year as they did in fresher's (this is a statistic made up purely by me - do not take it at face value).  Therefore, see this as a major advantage as it will seriously encourage you to make lots of other friends elsewhere at University.

Be the most confident version of yourself
Remember that no one knows you at University - you're in a new city, with new teachers (well I should probably say lecturers) and new students.  In theory, you could totally reinvent yourself.  That is not a piece of advise I would suggest if you are looking for friends with similar interests and personalities to you, but it does mean that you can pretend you are a lot more confident than you would normally be at home around people you recognise.  When you sit next to people in your initial lectures, ask them their name, ask for their social medias and ask where they are going tonight.  This will make you come across as super confident, friendly and approachable and I can guarantee the person next to you will be so glad you chose to speak to them.  I have so many people on social media that I met during my fresher's week lectures and some of these people are my closest friends now!

Join your subject society (or any society!)

I know that your subject society, in my case the history society, sounds pretty dull but it is far from it.  Being part of the society is essentially a chance to meet lots of different people who do the same course as you through arranged socials such as nights out, pub quizzes and the famous Christmas ball.  The most history related thing I have done as part of the society is dress up for a 1960s themed pub crawl - so don't worry, there is no extra work involved.  If I hadn't of been brave and gone along to the very first history society social, my friendship group at university would be VERY DIFFERENT now.  Equally, there are hundreds of other societies which might tickle your fancy - from sign language to guide dogs society, so there is certainly something for everyone.
DO A SPORT
As you can see by my use of CAPITALS, I believe doing a sport is the most important tip of all in making friends at university.  Indeed, all my friends who did not do a sport last year really did regret it and they are making it their priority to join one next year.  Now I know for a lot of people doing a sport seems extremely scary and out of their comfort zone, but there are so many you can choose from even if you are a total beginner.  I certainly was someone who had not done a lot of sport before but I joined the beginners team for cheerleading and it was the BEST DECISION OF MY LIFE!!! Not only will you be part of a team who you will meet with for training and games twice a week, you will also get to go on weekly sports socials which everyone knows is the best night out of the week.  Oh, and you'll also be doing a bit of exercise which never hurts.  In short, join a sport for a great way to meet friends, have fun and get drunk.
Remember, everyone is in the same boat!
As cliché and annoying as this quote is, it is so true.  University is a new experience for everyone - nobody knows anyone and everyone wants to make friends.  So with that in mind, be confident and friendly and get involved with as many different things as possible and I promise you will have no trouble at all with making friends!

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