One of the biggest worries for many students when they go to uni is simply making friends. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about, some people find it easy, whereas others take a little longer to find the kind of people they’re willing to open up to and relax around.
Over at The Student Room, there are plenty of questions about navigating this tricky part of university life, so we’ve taken some of the most commonly asked questions and answered them - including responses from fellow students who’ve been through the same thing.
What to do if you’re feeling lonely in your first year of university?
If you’re in this situation, don’t worry, it’s perfectly normal. Going to university is one of the biggest changes in your life to date, often involving moving far away from your existing friends and family, and it’s all-too-common to feel a bit lost at first. The main thing to keep in mind is that almost everyone else in your student accomodation and on your course feels like this, to some degree. Some people are just better at covering it up! The best thing is to put yourself out there and make the first move, even if it’s something as small as saying hello. For example, this response from gabbyisaacs010 shows how a simple greeting can snowball into something huge:
“When I went to college I made a friend on the first day from having a rollie together, then I became friends with her friends, she became friends with my one other friend, then the next day I met my boyfriend in that group. The point is it only takes one friend.”
While we’re certainly not suggesting you take up smoking, it just shows the power of casually saying hello to someone in your vicinity or around your student accomodation. And if it doesn’t work the first time, just keep trying - persistence is key when it comes to learning and growing as a person.
How to make friends in your second year of university?
This one pops up often, and it requires a slightly different response from students starting university for the first time. Often it comes from people who had one or two close friends in their first year, but for whatever reason drifted apart. The good news is that in many ways it’s easier than people navigating the first year of their studies. In your second year, you’re likely to know your university city well, you’ll have picked a few favourite places to go to, such as bars, cafes or parks, and you’re more likely to be settled in your studies with a clear view of the future. When it comes to making friends, this response from user Chapmase sums it up:
“The best way to make friends at uni is to go to as many societies and events as possible.”
Societies are there for this exact purpose! Plus it has the added bonus of being based around a topic you’re interested in - such as yoga, arts and crafts or a particular sport. The focus isn’t solely on making friends, which makes things a lot more relaxed - you’ll find friendships just occur naturally. These events can often involve drinks afterwards, or during, but there’s nothing wrong with sticking to water or soft drinks if you’re not a fan of alcohol.
Making friends after transferring to a new university
This is a common worry, as many people think friendship groups are made and set in the first year of university in your student accomodation or on your course. However, this is often far from the case. In your first year, most people are learning about the people around them and it often takes until the second or even third year before you make those trusted, long standing friends. An anonymous poster had this to say:
“A lot of friends don’t last after first year and people are still trying to meet new people in second year. I’m in the second semester of second year and I’m only really making friends now. It’s definitely a little more daunting but very possible.”
This is excellent advice. It’s daunting, for sure, but all things with a great outcome involve moving out of your comfort zone a little. Don’t hide your light under a bushel, let as many people as possible meet the real you, flaws and all, and you’ll naturally gravitate to the ones you’re most suited to, and vice versa.