Dispelling the myths on making friends at uni

Making. Friends. Your mum will reassure you that everything will be okay and “you’ll make so many friends, you’re so lovely”. Your siblings will tease you that you will “be lonely cos you’re weird”. Your next door neighbour will tell you “my nephew made so many friends cos he went on sooooo many nights out”. At the end of the day, everyone is different. You might make friends with everyone on your course. You might hate your flat but love the friends you made by joining a society. You may even only make a couple of friends. Or you could get to the end of uni and still prefer your friends from back home.

I’m here to dispel all the myths that will most likely be the catalyst for the wave of panic as you take the next step into university life.

You’ll make all your friends during Freshers Week

I have a varied freshers experience, after dropping out of my original choice of university and starting again back home. At my first uni, I went out on every single Freshers event I could – and there was a lot as it lasted a whole month. I met my best friend the first day of moving because we organised a last minute night out over a Facebook Group. But, at my second uni, I had a completely different experience. I was back home in a town I knew like the back of my hand. I was living with my boyfriend and had my safety bubble of home friends back. I went to the Freshers Fair but that was it. No nights out. No new friends. Yet, at the end of first year, I had the best group of friends around me that I met on my course.

I’m living at home – I won’t make any friends.

Your accommodation whilst studying at university does NOT determine how many friends you will make. There are so many different ways to put yourself out there and meet new people without having to share a kitchen with 5 other people. Joining Facebook groups helped me make friends at both of my universities from living in a studio flat and using the groups to meet people in my accommodation to living with my boyfriend and being able to talk to people starting my course beforehand. Extra-curricular activities are also crucial in making friends and putting yourself forward. Join societies that you are interested in or have never tried before. Go to daytime and/or night-time fresher events to meet new people. Saying YES is your stepping stone forward.

I need to drink to make friends

Drinking culture at university is completely exaggerated and can be intimidating when looking to make friends. Some people will love going on nights out and build their group of friends because of that which is completely fine. It is also completely fine to not drink. Quiet halls, daytime events and societies are perfect opportunities to make friends away from the drinking culture and it is increasingly becoming the norm to not drink. Research shows that “more than 25% of young people class themselves as “non-drinkers” and as we become more health conscious this number is sure to rise. Even if you live in a flat of students who do go out and drink – this doesn’t mean you can’t be friends. Suggest an evening where you all cook a meal together or a day event such as bowling or mini golf.

Things to remember

  • Freshers Week isn’t the be all or end all.
  • Facebook Groups are the perfect icebreaker before you meet face to face.
  • Where you live has no impact on making friends.
  • Extra-curricular activities such as Societies, Daytime Events and Sports Clubs should be taken advantage of.
  • Say YES.
  • You don’t need to drink.
  • Organising sober activities is a good way to socialise and get to know people.

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