How to make friends during Freshers’ Week
Science Editor Imogen Poyntz-Wright discusses how Freshers can overcome the fear of meeting new people and flatmates and making new friends.
Starting university is an exciting time, but it is totally normal to feel a mixture of emotions! You’re leaving behind your family and friends, starting life in a new place, and living with people you don’t know. Now, one thing you need to know is that your flatmates are your flatmates. You maybe lucky enough to find some of your best friendships with those people, or like most of us they will just be the “hey, how’s your day going” people you bump into in the kitchen or corridor. But if you’re the latter, don’t worry. You will meet so many lovely people at university. Remember that everyone will be feeling nervous and awkward during Freshers’ Week, so don’t let your overthinking stop you from enjoying your time at university. The key is to just get out there and talk to people: you won’t regret it!
But here are some tips to help you make the most of Freshers’ Week and beyond.
Each year courses and accommodations make new group chats. These are a great way to meet people living in your accommodation and those on the same course as you. The chats will be buzzing in Freshers with people arranging to meet up, so make the most of this, especially your course meet ups. This is a great way to meet like minded people and discuss what you’re excited about with regards to your course (a great starting point for conversation). You might even find some people to make the walks to 8:30 classes way easier and trust me, it is needed … music can only do so much at that hour.
Course society meet ups
So yes, you have your course chats, but one thing I totally recommend during freshers is going to your course’s society meet ups. The pub crawls especially. Whether you’re a drinker or not, don’t shy away. Yes, they are very daunting as you know no one but just walk in there, say hey, and you will be great. Pub crawls are a relaxed setting, where you will be sure to mix with lots of different people when moving from pub to pub. This is how I met so many of my uni friends (and trust me I was SO nervous about going, but it ended by being such a great night).
General society meetups
Now for me, although I love art, yoga, gaming, film, coffee…the list goes on, societies were not where I met my friends. BUT, I know a lot of people who have. What’s important to remember is that you don’t have to be an avid artist, extreme gamer, amazing chess player etc., to join a society. In fact, societies no matter what they are, just want you to come along to their events, be interested and have fun. Societies offer a great way to meet people with similar interests which again is a good conversation starter! The best societies to choose are those where you are having to do group activities. If you’re looking to meet new people, just don’t make the mistake many people do where they choose societies where you turn up, do a class and leave.
During freshers your course will host an introduction lecture and likely refreshments after. You will also have your first tutor meeting. Both are great opportunities to meet people. So stick around for the refreshments after the lecture and even get the rest of your tutor group to head to the ram bar after your campus tour.
Beyond freshers your course will likely have tutorials, group work or even laboratory work. Yes you’re having to do work, but you can arrange, especially if you’re having to do a group project, to head to a coffee shop on campus or even the ram and get some ideas flowing whilst having a nice drink. Also, the conversation is most certainly likely to wander and who knows you may all have a lot in common.
The most important thing about freshers and first year is to make the most of being invited out! Yes, work obviously is important. But make the most of people inviting you to go off and do things, whether it’s going for a coffee, exploring Dartmoor or clubbing. You will be sure to make some amazing memories and meet even more amazing people.
Finally, remember that many people don’t find their best friends in freshers or first year. You never know when you will meet friends for life. But just enjoy the time, make the most of opportunities, make memories and meet lots of people where you can. Don’t put pressure on yourself or compare yourself to other people and their flatmates or friendships. Just enjoy being a fresher, the opportunity only comes once!