By Becky Firth.
Starting university can be a daunting experience. Moving to a new city, often alone and without your friends from home can feel intimidating. I can still remember how nervous I felt when my parents dropped me off in my new dorm room. The realisation I had left home and was about to begin my university journey didn’t truly hit me until I saw them drive away from campus. For a few minutes I sat on my bed, everything finally dawning on me. I was in a strange place, with people I had never met waiting down the hall, and a huge suitcase ready to unpack.
When I heard voices coming from the kitchen, I finally worked up the courage to introduce myself to my flatmates. Once the initial greetings were over, I felt a little relieved. The nervous smiles and cautious small talk of my flatmates put my mind at ease. It was an odd situation to be in – but everybody was in the same boat. Everybody was equally as nervous and excited to be starting student life. Fortunately, fresher’s week is set up to help you settle in. There are several things you can do during that time and after to meet new people and make new friends.
Embrace fresher’s week for the rollercoaster that it is
Fresher’s week is a great time to get to know the people you’re living with – go shopping together, explore your new city, host movie nights or go on nights out. You’ll quickly get the opportunity to meet new people through different events, but if drinking isn’t for you, don’t worry! There are usually plenty of non-drinking events on campus and in town to choose from.
It’s a time where everybody will be looking to make friends, so take advantage of that. Try to push yourself to get out of your room and do things you might not normally do. You never know who you might meet! It’s a new experience and it takes time to adapt, so you’re likely to feel homesick from time to time. You’ll soon settle and hopefully look back on your first week fondly. If you’re struggling with homesickness or experiencing loneliness, give this open letter a read.
With fresher’s week usually comes fresher’s fair, where you can sign up to different clubs and societies.
There’s so many to choose from – there’s anything from traditional sports to Quidditch, baking, LGBT, theatre...
There really is something for everyone. Often you can go to the first event for free. Try something new or continue an old hobby – you’re likely to meet like-minded people and make some new friends. Don’t be afraid to try something new in the second term too – societies run all year round, and dependent on what it is, you might be able to join later in the year.
Chat with your course mates
It’s a good idea to join your course Facebook group chat to get to know your course mates. See if anybody lives near you and if you can walk to the first lecture together (though finding your lecture theatre may take a map and some help from other students).
If not, don’t be afraid to say hello to the people you end up sitting next to – I met some of my best university friends in the first week of classes. You will often end up working together on projects or helping each other with coursework. Don’t limit your friendship to the classroom either – invite your course mates for a coffee between lectures, a trip into town or a night out.
Take up part-time work
Part-time work is another great way to make friends – especially when working on campus. Spending long shifts together gives you plenty of time to get to know each other. You’re also likely to meet friends in different year groups and courses. Plus, you can earn some money and build up your CV! Staff socials also mean you can hang out outside of a work environment and can be really fun!
In short, starting university can feel overwhelming – but there are plenty of ways to get to know new people and make new friends. It might take some time, or you might happen to run into people you just ‘click’ with straight away. Remember, you’ll likely meet new people every year at University – so don’t worry if you don’t settle into your ideal group immediately. Once you’ve found the right group, you can search for your dream student home together if you choose to live off-campus in your second or third year!
Embrace this opportunity for a fresh start and make some memories with your new friends!
Hi, I’m Becky! I grew up in Leeds and I’ve just graduated with a Psychology degree from Lancaster University.
I’m a writer and video editor and my dream job would be to work in Digital Marketing. The best thing about HYBR? How they support students all throughout the letting process.