Meeting new people and forming fresh connections are some of the most exciting aspects of the university experience. But it can also be difficult to know where to start, particularly if you’ve recently moved away from home, don’t know anyone else at your university, or haven’t had much recent practice. The good news is you’re not alone! The better news is there are so many options for getting out there and making friends while at uni. Read on for some advice on how to make the most of university social life.
Making Friends 101: An Introduction to your Classmates
The first and most obvious way you’re likely to make friends at university is through your classes. This is a good opportunity for many reasons: you’re studying the same subject, so are likely to have similar interests. You’ll probably have to work together in class or on group projects, so you’ll get the chance to know them better. Moreover, people in your first-year classes will be in the same boat as you – they’ll also be navigating this new social environment and are more open to making friends. However university friendships can sometimes take a while to get going, and may progress more naturally after a few semesters of classes together. Don’t stress if these connections don’t form overnight.
If you get along well with your classmates, be proactive and invite them out for a coffee after class or study together in the library! Make an effort to get to know them better outside of the lecture hall. It’s also a great idea to have a few ‘fun facts’ about yourself up your sleeve when your tutor inevitably asks you to play ‘two truths and a lie’ during your first class. They become fantastic conversation starters.
Seeking a Social Life? Join the Club!
Another great option for meeting new people is by joining a university club. For example, the University of Melbourne has over 200 student clubs which cover a huge range of interest areas, from music to culture to sport. Whether you are interested in a particular social issue, are looking to celebrate your heritage, or are a big fan of Harry Potter, there’s a club for you! Student Clubs are full of people who are passionate about the same things as you, so you’ll always have a topic of conversation to fall back on. Clubs are also a great way to discover new interests and create shared memories.
At the beginning of the academic year the university runs a few club expos where all clubs and societies set up stalls to promote themselves. You can approach them and sign up nice and early. Several smaller expos also take place throughout the year, so come along to one of these and see what’s on offer.
Never fear if you’re not a student at the University of Melbourne. Most other tertiary institutions including RMIT, ACU and Victoria University, also have a large variety of clubs available to their students. No matter what uni you attend, there are plenty of options for you to explore.
Get involved in college
If you really want to make lasting connections as you enter university, living at a residential college is a great way to start! You live, dine and study together so it’s easy to make friends. Not to mention that you’ll get to know people from all backgrounds, universities and degrees. The trick is to step out of your comfort zone and get involved in the college events and activities, starting with Orientation Week. The Student Club organises a variety social and sports events all year long so there’s always something you can get involved in. Stepping up to leadership roles such as a UC Student Ambassador, Student Club Executive or Orientation Leader also connect you with like-minded people.
Kindness is Key
While there are many options available to you for making new friends, it’s important to remember that it’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed at the same time. The transition to university is significant and brings with it a whole host of new experiences. Being open to these new experiences takes courage, but also brings great rewards. So along the way, remember to treat yourself with as much kindness as you extend to your new friends.
Written by Mallory Evans.