You are not alone. If you read my previous post, I briefly mentioned how not making friends is one of the top things us students worry about before starting university. It’s totally understandable to feel overwhelmed, especially after moving to a new city, or even a whole new country for those of you who are international students. Uni isn’t like school, you won’t be judged or left out and there is always various opportunities to make new friends, whatever your age. Everyone is in the same boat, in a few weeks you’ll wonder why you ever felt so apprehensive. The sooner you start making friends, the sooner you will feel at home.
If you haven’t done so already, join the 2015 UCB freshers Facebook page. It is an awesome place to introduce yourself and find others on the same course before you move to the city and start life at UCB.
I’ve mentioned previously that I live at home, so I’ve not had the pleasure of experiencing life in halls. Yet this will be one of the first places to meet new buddies. Offer to help someone move their stuff into their room, say “Hi” on the stairs, prop open your door, find out where everyone is from, ask about what courses your flat-mates are doing, give a compliment, and if all else fails make a cup of tea – it’s the ultimate ice-breaker (even better if you have biscuits to share).
Last Friday, the Guild shared this year’s 2 week freshers line up, and it looks EPIC! For many people, freshers is key to making a lasting impression. Having said that, don’t fret if you do something embarrassing, as it will only stop you from enjoying all the fun. For those of us who don’t live in halls, it’s easy to feel left out of the buzz about freshers, so post on the Facebook page to see if you can meet up with anyone who lives close-by or, failing that, there’s bound to be somebody organising a get-together before heading to events.
Not into the club scene? Personally, I’m not either. Although I hardly drink, I still had a blast at freshers events last year. Alcohol may help break the social barriers down, but it isn’t the be-all and end-all of enjoying these few weeks, so don’t hide away in your room if you’re worried about this. The UCB Guild (in fact probably every Student Union) totally gets that there are students who aren’t into partying every night and so they incorporate a variety of amazing events for every student to enjoy such as quizzes, comedy nights, dodgeball and an incredible day-trip to Alton Towers this year!
Make sure you attend the freshers fair in the second week. If you’ve ever seen the movie Pitch Perfect, this is exactly what I had envisioned before going to freshers fair last year. Apart from the mermaid dancing and being indoors, it pretty much lived up to my expectations. Last year included over-indulging on £1 Dominoes pizza, free goodies: pens, bottle openers, sweet treats, etc and most importantly; all of the societies. Speaking of which…
Get sporty or join a society
Uni is the best opportunity to break out of your comfort zone and try new hobbies and sports, plus joining a society instantly creates lots of friends to make. Most sports tend to do taster sessions, so sign up for as many as possible at the freshers fair, then you can decide on which ones you’d like to be part of. Regrettably, I didn’t join one last year but I’m hoping to change that this time round. If there’s a hobby or something you love doing and there isn’t a society for it, you can always start one up! Just head to the guild of students to find out more info.
At induction, you will get to see most of the people on your course, and usually everyone tends to say a little something about themselves (name, why the want to do the course, where they are from etc). Once classes start, you’ll find a lot of lectures incorporate group activities to break the barriers down. Class trips are always an experience not to be missed, and in my experience last year, I ended up making better friendships because of this.
One ‘friendship worry’ I’ve come across – especially during the 1st semester – is age concerns. I completely understand how nerve-wracking it can be in terms of making friends if you feel ‘older’. Having just turned 23 when I started at UCB (even though it’s not particularly old), I got caught up thinking I would feel elderly compared to 18 year olds, but this definitely wasn’t the case. It is reasurring to know UCB have a lovely mixture of age diversity!
In regards to the friend-making aspect, the first few weeks aren’t as crucial as people seem to think. The truth is, new people will spring into your life almost constantly throughout your time here. Even for the most socially-inept individuals, the sheer amount of folk that pass through almost guarantee that one of them is going to like you. It’s important to keep an abundance mentality and not slip into the habit of altering your personality to fit a certain demographic of people. At uni, people are generally more accepting of people and their differences, so you don’t have to twist yourself around corners to fit in. Make the effort to engage with others, be yourself and, most of all, enjoy it!
Hope this puts a few minds at ease