Making friends at uni: a beginner’s guide
Gracie Moore offers a guide on making friends in your first weeks at university.
If you had asked me while I was applying to university how I envisioned my first year, it would have included: a massive group of friends, the perfect flatmates and an independent, ‘Blair Waldorf’ esque lifestyle. Barely any of these vaguely resemble what it is actually like when one begins studying at university, but perhaps the hardest part to accept originally, was that it isn’t always easy to make friends!
That is the one thing I wish I had known. Not everyone is going to want to be your friend – and they may not have a particular reason for this. But it is important to remember that this isn’t necessarily any reflection on you, because the right people will come into your life when you need them most and they will be there to stay. This doesn’t mean that it isn’t important for you to try and form connections – the best way to make strong bonds with people is to open up and find common ground. Luckily, I would label myself an extrovert and find it easy to talk to new people, but, feelings of anxiety and stress are completely normal! If you relate more to this, events such as society socials or ‘ice-breakers’ can be a natural way to get stuck into interacting with lots of people who share common interests.
But it is important to remember that this isn’t necessarily any reflection on you, because the right people will come into your life when you need them most and they will be there to stay
Another essential thing to remember is that you can’t force a tight bond with the people you live with just because you live with them. Of course, it is recommended you do things as a house or flat in Freshers’ Week, because you will be living with each other for at least a year, so knowing a little bit about your flatmates will make your life less awkward. Despite this, sometimes it is extremely difficult to find any common ground with your flatmates and in these cases, it is normal to feel a little isolated. This is identical to the experience I had in my first year when I often felt excluded during Freshers’ Week and for most of the first term. As much as this saddened me at first, friendships work two ways and there are plenty more fish in the platonic sea- it took me until December to form a solid friendship circle! But I now know I have found my best friends and, in hindsight, wish I’d had more patience.
But I now know I have found my best friends and, in hindsight, wish I’d had more patience
I’m sure you’re still asking; ‘But how do I make a first impression? What if I don’t have any common interests with ANYONE?’ The best first impressions come from being friendly, open and simply- yourself! At University, you cannot pretend to be something you’re not when trying to make friends because in being yourself, you will attract the most authentic friends. As for the second concern, ‘What if no one shares common interests with me?’, this can be a positive! For example, if a hobby of yours is particularly niche, why not share your passion for it with others? Why not open yourself up to their niche interests too? It gives you more to talk about and makes you more interesting, forging your own path rather than copying what everyone else is doing simply because you think it will give you more to relate to.
I have every faith that you will be just fine at Exeter and that you’ll slot in nicely with a group of like-minded individuals who want the same thing out of university – to grow intellectually and emotionally while enjoying all of the added social perks to the fullest.