Thinking about how you’ll fit in and make friends when you go to Uni can be a source of anxiety in the lead up to September. The first thing to keep in mind is that almost everyone will be feeling the same thing. Most people feel on the back foot when they are stepping into a new adventure.
Reframe your nervousness and try thinking of it as excitement. If you get butterflies in your stomach when you talk to your new flatmates for the first time that’s natural.
Smile and be open. We’re not suggesting that you divulge your most intimate details to everyone in your cluster, but a smile and a supportive/friendly greeting goes a long way. Remember they’re all looking for mates too.
Offer to Help. Use everyone else’s uncertaintly to help you start to build relationships – offer to help or be able to acknowledge that you are feeling the same. If someone is humping boxes up the stairs to their room, offer to give them a hand.
Accommodation Mixer. Go to your accommodation mixer. For example, all Abodus properties put on events in the first week so that everyone can start to get to know each other.
Keep your door open. Think about keeping your room door open so that people know that you’re around for a chat. It helps if you make your room inviting… amd bring a door stop to uni.
Course Induction. This is the easiest way to not only get a better feeling for your course but also start getting to know your fellow students. When you get down to studying and going to lectures you’ll have a bit of a head start. You’ll also want to cultivate friendships in your course as you’ll be spending quite a bit of time with them over the next 3 or 4 years. Your flatmates will be a distinct group and they might become your besties, but they’ll all have their own courses and groups also, so don’t put all your friendship eggs in one basket.
Societies. It’s good to have a few ideas of what societies you might join. There will be no shortage to choose from and during Freshers week you will be bombarded with invitations to join. It might be a good idea to think of a range of different types of societies e.g. related to your course, political/cultural, sporty, fun etc. Go to their Freshers events and see what appeals. There’s not opportunity like this outside of Uni, so make the most of it.
Take the initiative. Your flatmates will probably be feeling the excitement/overwhelm of Uni to greater and lesser extents. If someone looks a bit shy, invite them to something with you. Another great tactic is inviting your flatmates for some pre-going out drinks. A great ice-breaker and they’ll appreciate it.
Don’t Drink Too Much. There will be so many opportunities to go out over Fresher’s week that it can be something of a marathon. If you want to last throughout all the opportunities to meet new mates, keep an eye on your drinking. 1. You don’t want to go through Freshers week through the haze of a hangover. 2. You don’t want to be know as the Fresher that _______ (insert your own worst drunken scenario here). You also need to have your wits around you. You’re in new surroundings with new people and you should be able to enjoy yourself without putting yourself in any situations where you are vulnerable.
Don’t Drink? No Problem. Freshers week can seem like a bit of an alcohol fueled obstacle course if you’re tee-total or not that bothered about drinking. Don’t fret. There are usually lots of alternatives like day trips to different local places. Look out for opportunities to meet like minded people.
Take contact details. Give people your number/email/social media handle and importantly get there’s. Where appropriate make a tentative plan to meet in the future…”oh well maybe I’ll see you at film club then?”
But perhaps the most important thing to remember of all
Don’t be an Idiot… instead be authentic and be yourself, little bit of empathy, listening and being there works wonders. Don’t put yourself under pressure to be the funniest, the coolest, the smartest, the most cynical etc just to be accepted. Be Yourself, think of others and you’ll be fine.
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
— Dale Carnegie