Understandably, the thought of starting university for the first time can set the butterflies soaring in a lot of students’ stomachs. Suddenly, you’ll have to learn to navigate a new city and an unfamiliar campus, full of new people and potential friends. This can all seem pretty daunting, and maybe you’re asking yourself; “How am I supposed to properly get to know anyone and make any friends?” These are very natural questions to ask, but just remember, almost all of the other students will be asking themselves the same thing. Keeping this in mind will help to relieve some of the pressure and anxiety that often comes with making new friends.
I’m positive you’ll figure everything out on your own, in your own time, but to give you a friendly push on the way, here are a couple of tips on how to meet new people and make some good friends during your first couple of weeks:
Don’t feel like you need to find a “group” straight away
As soon as you arrive at university, it may feel like the pressure is on to find a group of friends straight away. If you’ve made the decision to stay in halls, this pressure can be even more apparent as your new flatmates are likely to be the first group of students that you’ll meet. Despite this, it’s important to remember that you’ve got at least three years to meet new people, so, if you don’t find people that you connect with straight away – that’s okay! Many people don’t find their permanent group of friends until after first term, or even into second and third year. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t feel like you’re in the right group, you can always make new friends. Make sure you make the effort to get to know people and you’ll be sure to find someone with similar interests in no time.
Get in contact with people before university starts
Many universities have dedicated Facebook pages and groups that you can join in the weeks before the new semester begins. This gives you the opportunity to find out what sort of people will be in your halls, on your course and at your university. This means that you’ll have someone to share your thoughts, expectations and worries with before getting to university, and you’ll have some friendly and familiar faces to look for in the crowds once you arrive.
Get to know your flatmates!
There’s no shame in wanting privacy from time to time but keeping your door open whilst you’re in your flat during Freshers shows people that you’re an open and welcoming person. It also gives people the opportunity to pop in for a chat, or you spotting them as they walk past – thus giving you the chance to get to know your housemates a little better. Say hello when you move in, and maybe offer to help if you see someone almost toppling over the weight of their heavy boxes. Show interest in the others moving in, and remember, suitcases and bags full of clothes and books and pictures are great conversation starters and icebreakers. Also, try to spend as much time as possible in the kitchen or the shared and social areas of your flat. Put some effort into properly getting to know your flatmates. After all, you’re going to be living together for the next year or so, might as well get some friends out of it.
Knock on doors
If you haven’t met all the people you live with during the first couple of days (and are feeling particularly brave), try knocking on their doors! Chances are they’ve just been busy unpacking or that you’ve just missed each other, not that they’ve purposefully avoided you. It’s always nice to say hi and establish some form of contact. They’re most likely just happy that you took the initiative to start the conversation.
Try to strike a conversation with new people
One of the easiest ways to make new friends is by talking! This gives you the opportunity to learn more about the people around you whilst allowing them to get to know you too. So, in those first few weeks, don’t be afraid of speaking up and try and initiate conversations with everyone you meet. If you’re naturally introverted or shy this can seem like a daunting task, however, once you’ve done it a few times you’ll become more comfortable speaking to new people. Even better yet, it’s likely that these small conversations will lead to bigger ones, thus laying the foundations for a new friendship. During lectures and classes, try and sit down next to someone you haven’t spoken to before and be as sociable as you can. Making course friends is good as they can help you out with things you are unsure of, aid you with weekly homework tasks or coursework you need to work together on, and you also have some people to talk to outside of learning too!
If you’ve got a hobby, joining a society is a great way to find other people with the same interests as you! You’d be surprised how quickly you make friends on these! It’s the easiest way to meet new people: like-minded students with interests similar to your own. Many societies host regular socials and events, so you’ll have lots of other occasions to get to know people and gel as a group. Queen Mary has over 250 societies, so you’re bound to find one or two which suit your interests and tastes. Once you’ve signed up at the freshers’ fair, make sure you go along to meetings and events regularly. It can seem a chore at first when you don’t really know anyone but stick at it and you’ll soon make friends who’ll make you want to keep going back. Plus, getting stuck in with extracurricular actives looks great on your CV!
Good luck, you’ll do great!
By Jubada Rahman
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jubada was born in London and is a final year student studying Economics and Finance at Queen Mary. She is also a committee member for the Banking and Finance Society at Queen Mary. If you would like to get in touch with Jubada, do chat to her through https://www.qmul.ac.uk/unibuddy/
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