Coming to University and living independently may seem daunting; a lot of questions we receive are queries from students who are worried about making friends. Our short answer is: don’t be.
When you join university you have already taken a tremendously courageous step to live and study independently. Whilst at university you will grow hugely as a person and part of that process will be down to the people you surround yourself with. The friends you meet at University also tend to be the friends you have for the rest of your life.
Your room mates will be the first new faces you will meet. Our accommodation team has been busy matching people together based on the criteria you ticked when you applied for accommodation. For instance, if you preferred to live with people who are quiet, our accommodation team would have matched you with someone who also prefers to live with quiet people and vice versa. To help you maximise your chances of getting on right away here are some simple tips to bear in mind:
1) Keep your door open. An open door is an invitation in to your room, showing you are open to chatting and socialising.
2) Relax in the communal areas of your new residence such as the living room or kitchen and strike up a conversation when your roommates enter the room. Similar to the tip above, it demonstrates you are willing to sit down and chat.
3) If you’re done moving in why not help your room mates move in too? It’s a simple, polite gesture that is sure to break the ice.
4) Cook up a meal for your new room mates in your first week. It’s a friendly gesture and will encourage you all to sit down, chat and eat together.
5) Be respectful; this is an obvious one but worth remembering. For instance, if your room mate has an exam the next day and you’re coming back from a night out, keep the noise to a minimum to show you’re thinking of them.
6) Introduce yourself to your neighbours, this way you’ll get an even wider circle of friends in your accommodation and will show that you are willing to extend your reach and introduce yourself to more people.
7) Become the friendly face you want to see in your accommodation.
Of course your new room mates will only be a small proportion of the friends you will meet whilst at university. During your first couple of weeks you will be introduced to your course mates and will no doubt meet people at events right across the city after arriving in Leeds. Everyone on your course is sure to have a similar interest to you – the course that you study. During your first few lectures and seminars, your teachers will give you the opportunity to introduce yourself to your new course mates. So how can you make sure you’re as approachable as you can be to all your new course mates? Simple: make sure you make it along to your lectures and seminars regularly, that way you become a familiar face to everyone on your course. Another quick tip is to try and arrive to your class five minutes before so you have the chance to chat to some people before you enter your class.
So you’ve met your house mates, you’ve met your course mates and you still want to meet more friends? Your next stop should be the Students’ Union (SU). Our SU runs numerous events and projects to help you get the most from your university experience, including making friends. Our SU is the place to find out about how to join a society. A society is a sure way to meet people who have similar hobbies or interests to you and, with a range of societies ready to join, you’re sure to find something that will appeal to you. Have a look here at all the potential societies that you can join, then sign up during the Freshers Fair and attend the introductory meeting; it’s as simple as that! Our SU also has numerous ways you can get involved including activities and volunteering.
Want to make some friends that share a passion for sports? Try our Athletic Union. There are tons of sports to choose from, from fencing to rugby union, each one giving you the chance to compete and keep fit whilst also developing a bond between you and your team mates. Our University is also in the top ten sporting universities in the country, so even more of a reason to get active! But it is certainly not only for seasoned athletes – whether you’re a pro or just fancy a Zumba class from time to time, there will be something for you.
Whilst all these ways of making friends are the most common, they certainly don’t cover all the opportunities you will have to meet friends. Whilst at university you will meet potential friends almost daily: it is upon you to act on and make the most of the opportunities you have. A lot of friends are also made through other friends., so the more you make the more you’ll have. You won’t know when and where you’ll meet your new best friend, but the one certain thing is that you will.
If you’re still anxious about making friends whilst at University, why not check out our friends videos here to hear stories about how some of our recent graduates came to be best friends.