6 September 2023

8 Ways to Make Friends at University

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Making friends at university takes some serious work. It’s right up there next to trying to mind-wrestle The Scarlett Witch.

University hasn’t been an easy ride in the last few years, and loneliness on campus has been at an all-time high. According to a survey run by the Office for National Statistics, almost one in four students feel lonely at some point. That’s four times as much as the regular adult.

Sad facts aside, making friends at university can be serious fun.

Is it harder to make friends at uni?

Think of uni as your chance to start again and forget the weird social norms of secondary school and college. Uni is diverse, and you’ll be meeting people with different life experiences and mindsets, which makes for very good friend-making.

It’s been said that university is where you make friends for life, and that can totally be the case. But where do you begin?

Here are 8 ways to make friends at university, without giving off major Joe Goldberg vibes.

1. Join a uni Facebook group, or five

Facebook isn’t just for the uncles and aunties with embarrassing profile pictures. University groups on Facebook are a handy way to meet people before you step foot on campus.

Many universities set up Freshers’ groups well in advance of Freshers’ Week. If you’re unsure whether your university has one, Your Freshers Guide has a mega list of all the university Facebook groups out there.

The fun doesn’t stop there either. There are plenty of groups for halls, societies and even your course. Join them all.

2. Chat with your flatmates

If you’re living in halls, this will probably be the first time you meet anyone on campus.

Even with all the kerfuffle of move-in day, it’s the best time to introduce yourself to your flatmates. Many universities suggest leaving your door open and saying hello to people that walk past.

Of course, you don’t have to do that – meeting in the kitchen is even better. Bonding over food? Yes, please.

Even if you don’t become besties with your flatmates, you’ll hopefully be comfortable enough to share a meal or even have a cheeky 3am beer in your hall’s kitchen with them. Getting along with your flatmates goes a long way.

3. Attend everything during Freshers’ Week

Freshers’ Week is essential to university life, and you only get it once. So make it count.

The parties are great. Legendary even. But there are loads of other events to get stuck into if being up in da club doesn’t quite suit you. Some of these include:

  • The Freshers’ Fair
  • Campus tours
  • City/town tours
  • Quiz nights
  • Talent shows
  • Course introductions
  • Catching the freshers’ flu 🤒- seriously, people bond over getting it.

The sheer amount of choice is frightening, but you’ll have plenty of opportunities to meet some great people. (And grab a shipping container’s worth of freebies whilst you do it).

4. Talk to your course mates

If there’s one thing you simply must do during Freshers Week, it’s your course induction.

This is where you’ll find out what your first year will be like, including…

  • The modules you’ll be studying
  • Who your lecturers and course leaders are
  • Any important dates (like major essays and exams)
  • Receiving your course handbook.

But it’s also a chance to scope out your coursemates and introduce yourselves.

You probably won’t be asked to break the ice with two truths and a lie (yet), but a warm hello will go a long way.

5. Join a society

It’s worth joining a society that you’re genuinely interested in. Enjoy beekeeping? There’s a society for that. Want to be the next Fatboy Slim? Why not join a DJ society? You’d be surprised at the amount of choice out there.

You’ll already have one thing in common with the people you meet there. So it’s a great start in forming lasting connections.

Bear in mind that you’ll usually have to pay a small membership fee (between £5 and £15), which will help pay for activities and keep the club running. But it’s a great idea to join at least one if you can.

6. Get a job on campus

Whether it’s the campus café, the library or the gym, getting a job on campus does wonders for meeting people. You could even become a brand ambassador and promote a brand to students!

As a brand ambassador, you’ll get to know a company well, network loads – and maybe even bag yourself a permanent job with them once you graduate. Loads of students have done this.

Oh – and did we mention you’ll earn £12 an hour?

7. Be yourself

It’s a little cliché, but just being yourself is super important.

You’ll be meeting new people every day from different walks of life, and while it’s tempting to change to make others like you, in reality, it’s much easier to be yourself.

Above all, you’re your own best asset. Be warm, kind, and open-minded. People will see that and want to hang out with you. (Unless you’re Miss Trunchbull).

8. Don’t rush to form close friendships

Getting to know people is fun, but forming genuine friendships can take a while. Honestly, it might not be until your second year when you’ll start to see those close friendships fully form, so take your time.

Also, don’t limit yourself to one group of people. You’re absolutely allowed to hang out with as many different groups as you want. We all get different things from different people, and it’s good to mix it up.

It’s perfectly fine to have acquaintances or even make friends with people that you’ll end up drifting apart from. It’s life.

Manage your expectations. You’re not going to get along with everyone, and that’s okay.

how to make friends at uni

Can I still make friends if I commute to uni?

Even if you’re commuting from home, it doesn’t mean that you’ll miss out on making those all-important connections.

You can still get a job on campus, join a society (or three) and get friendly with your classmates.

If you live in the area where your university is located, think about playing tour guide a little – letting your peers know all the best spots to hang out, eat and party.

You’ll actually be in a unique position. The catch-ups and hangouts will be all the sweeter as you won’t see your friends all the time. After all, absence makes the kidneys grow fonder…or however it goes.

Although the above are all great ways to meet people and make friends, you should always do what’s comfortable for you. If you find yourself feeling a little overwhelmed, don’t worry! There’s no problem with skipping an event or two during Freshers’.

Remember, everyone else will be in the same boat and probably just as nervous as you.

If you’re finding it hard and already starting to feel lonely at university – don’t hesitate to speak to someone about it. Your uni should have a student services/support team.

Lots of unis also have buddy schemes that help to connect students and make them feel more at home. Some other valuable resources include Samaritans, Student Minds and Mind.