For many students, starting their first year at university is one of the most daunting things they will ever do in life. University is not like starting school for the first time, where pupils know other people from primary school or from other year groups, and see familiar faces around who they live near or are family friends. At university, you know nobody at all when you first start, and it’s up to you to meet new people and make friends.
The great thing about university friends is that you become close to them really quickly because your seeing them so often and there’s so much to talk about as everyone’s in the same boat and everyone is doing things that they’re not used to and have never done before. University friends will become your life-long friends. You’ll stay in touch with them in ten, twenty or even thirty years time.
Your flatmates will probably be the first people you meet and the easiest people to make friends with because you have no choice but to talk to them and go out with them during fresher’s week. perhaps at the start it will be awkward and quiet in the flat; everyone might be a bit shy and uncomfortable, but once you start doing things together, like drinking, cooking together, going food shopping, or just watching a film, you’ll start to feel comfortable around each other. A year is a long time and during this year your flatmates will get to know everything about you, and will see you at your worst and best. They will be the first ones who are there for you when you’re ill, stressed or just simply need someone to listen to you talk about your day. If you get along, your flatmates will quickly become your best friends, or even your second family.
But, nobody chooses who they live with. In some situations, students may find themselves not liking their flatmates and unable to get on with them. When this happens, you should try and brush it off and find friends elsewhere. The best thing about university is that there are so many students that it’s guaranteed that you will find your people – that will like the same things as you and will have a lot in common with you.
Every university has hundreds of societies that you can choose from, some as absurd as the Harry Potter society where you have the opportunity to play quidditch, or the Bummit society where you hitchhike with a group of people to places as far as Bucharest to raise money for charity. Sport societies are also varied and interesting, from korfball or hockey to cheerleading or trampolining, you can join one that you already like, one that you’ve always wanted to try or even one that you’ve never heard of before. It’s easy to make friends in a society as they meet weekly and have regular drinking and non-drinking socials, and so it’s an opportunity to see people whilst doing an activity that you enjoy.
Llinos, a second year student at the University of Birmingham, told the Student Situation that he believes joining a society is the best way to make friends. After joining the climbing society in her first year, she met some of her best friends and has had the opportunity to go on various trips with them to exciting places all around the UK: “I made an instant connection with everyone in the society because they liked the same thing as me”.
So if you still haven’t made any good friends yet, or are thinking of going to university next year, don’t be scared to join a society that you like, or to try something new, as you are guaranteed to find people who are similar to you and who have chosen to join that society or sport for the same reasons as you. There is a place for everyone at university and everyone fits in – it’s one of the things that’s so amazing about university and will make your experience unforgettable.
Let us know about your experiences with joining a university society in the comments below.
Photo: Jirka Matousek / Flickr