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Making friends at university
Hi, I’m Kate, a third-year student at Leeds Beckett and in this blog I’ll be talking about how I’ve made friends at university and sharing my top tips on how you can meet people too.
Making friends is one of the things students worry most about before they move to university. It can be really daunting, especially for those who are more shy than others. I myself am very outgoing but sometimes I still get nervous meeting new people, everybody does, it's completely natural. I’m here to let you know that it’s okay to be nervous and show you how I’ve made lots of friends here through a variety of different situations.
Meeting people during my first term
My honest advice is to really throw yourself in and talk to that person sitting next to you or in your online seminar group. I recommend just introducing yourself, say you don’t know anyone here and ask to hang out with them at that seminar, lecture or induction or to join a group chat online. You’ll meet lots of different people and make connections in your first few weeks but don’t worry too much if you don’t have a close-knit group of friends straight away, I didn’t meet my good friends at uni until around two months in. I met them by jumping on every social opportunity and through meeting friends of friends. You will meet people you don’t like, don't click with or straight up don’t understand but sometimes it’s through these people that you meet your really good mates. One of the best things about university is meeting new and different people from all sorts of backgrounds. You may even end up becoming really good friends with someone who is the complete opposite to you and who is really different to all of your friends at home, so it’s important to keep an open mind.
Flatmates and course mates
If you’re staying in uni accommodation, you may meet a lot of people within your halls and there is the opportunity to become good friends with your flatmates. I found that most people tend to stick with their flat for the first couple weeks of uni. I got on really well with my flat and had a lot of fun but as we’ve progressed through uni and met other people, we’ve spoken less, and that’s okay. For me, it was my course mates that became my really good friends. This connection wasn’t immediate, it happened gradually through meeting a person on my course and realising they lived in the same accommodation as me. We’d then plan to walk to or from uni together. We then met another person on our course and another. Some people continued our walk to uni routine and some people after a while moved on and drifted away and this happened until a close group started to form. You just have to remember that friendships at university are like anything in life, you get out of them what you put in.
Stepping out of my comfort zone
I solidified these friendships with my course friends and now closest friends at university on a residential trip to the Lake District, a month into my first year, which is when I really started to enjoy uni. Don’t get me wrong I was enjoying it before, I just felt most comfortable and happy once I’d made an established group of friends. I wasn’t particularly keen to go on this residential trip with people I didn't know very well, doing all sorts of activities I didn't necessarily like. However, I made myself go and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my university experience. I met so many people on my course and made loads of friends which meant that going to uni became a much more enjoyable and social affair, overall improving my university experience. When I think back to first year, the first few weeks were great but my favourite nights out, days at uni and memories with my friends are from when I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone and mixed with people I otherwise may not have gotten the chance to. It can sometimes be scary or feel like a lot of effort to do things that are outside of your comfort zone but from my experience, it’s definitely been worth it!
Mixing with different people
One of my favourite things that comes from pushing myself to meet more people at uni is the opportunity to meet people who are drastically different to myself and who I know I would have otherwise never crossed paths with. I am an extreme extrovert and have become good friends with a couple of extreme introverts. I liked them because they are lovely, interesting, artistic and intellectual people. They say they liked me because as an extrovert, I brought them into more social situations. I also really like that they are different, interesting people who I wouldn’t necessarily normally talk to. I learnt from this experience that reaching out to different people and making an effort with them can really improve your university experience and the friendships that you make, so I really recommend you try it out, don’t disregard anyone because they are different to you and always be kind to everyone.
I know I will stay in contact with the friends I’ve met at university. I’m a very optimistic person, yet I am still realistic in that I know I will only stay in touch with a small group of the people I’ve met after we graduate as I’ve met so many here. Meeting people at university is one of the most valuable aspects of the university experience. I’ve learnt a lot about myself through the people I’ve met and I feel as though I’ve gained more confidence as well as simply having more fun at university through having that support group there and by pushing myself to meet people and make friends.
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Hi guys, my name is Kate, a third year Media, Communications and Cultures student here at Leeds Beckett. I'm really passionate about the opportunities Beckett provides for its students. Following my study abroad year in Australia, I'm now an unsolicited advocate for throwing yourself into every opportunity and making the most of any and every situation. Read my blogs for more on how life at Beckett can lead you somewhere you never thought you'd go!