How do I make friends at uni when the party life isn't for me
Hi, I’m Harry, a second year Building Surveying student at Leeds Beckett. In this blog I’ll be talking about something that I know I was incredibly anxious about myself, before coming to uni. I wondered how I was going to make friends when the party life isn’t for me. I didn't need to worry because I made lots of friends and here's how.
The first thing I want to say about this is DO NOT WORRY! I know this is cliché, but there are a lot of people in the same shoes as you, whether they admit it or not and I guarantee that you will find people you fit in with, if you put in the effort. With that, I’m delighted to share with you some tips, that I hope will be helpful to you, to create as many opportunities as you can to meet lots of other students in a similar boat to you. As usual, I’m trying to share with you some experiences I have learned and that might be less common than the generic things you can find online. Of course, everyone will make friends differently and you should only do what feels comfortable to you when it comes to your experiences and making friends. University is a great experience with so many different people with all sorts of interests and passions, you'll be sure to find your group.
Keep an open mind when out and about
Now, it’s essential to keep an open mind, Leeds has an enormous student population, so the odds of you running into other students in everyday life is incredibly high and meeting people in bars isn’t the only option. This is obvious, but always remember to be kind and polite to everyone you meet. I find that this is especially important to do in cafes and when shopping around uni, because the chances of you meeting that person one day in uni is often quite high. Whether that's through a friend of a friend, they might be in your class, taking a similar module, you never know who people are, so be kind to everyone as they might just be your next friend!
Also, we are lucky to have lots of other universities within the city of Leeds, so it’s important to remember that students from other uni’s aren’t the enemy and in fact could be potential friends. I share a house with students from the University of Leeds and it's so much fun to extend that friendship group to include other uni's.
I’ve found that it’s very easy to meet new people once you’ve made friends with people outside of your immediate circle. Once you are friends with someone who has similar interests to you, they might introduce you to their friends and so on. So keep an open mind and keep being friendly and chatting to people.
Look into joining societies
Leeds Beckett has so many societies to choose from and there is also the option of being able to create your own society if none of the already existing ones take your fancy. Now, this bit is really important, so listen up: you don’t need to drink to fit in with a society! Despite most societies having socials which are often hosted at a local bar or event venue, I personally have never had an issue with choosing not to drink in these circumstances, so there is honestly no need to worry about that. At the end of the day, we’re all adults at university and if others can’t respect your decisions and personal preferences, then they aren’t worth your time. So, try to keep rigid boundaries on what you’re comfortable with, but stay relaxed when it comes to your own thoughts on these situations. I've found that often we consider these things far more than other people do, as everyone is just there to have fun and meet people, so that's definitely one to remember.
Look out for people from the same school/college as you
There will be a number of students from your school or college who end up going to the same university as you. From my experience, I’ve found that it’s common for students who have known each other for a long time to actually become friends at university. There are people who I now consider some of my friends at uni, who I've known for years at college and who I hardly ever spoke to before coming to uni. Having a common background is a great starting point for conversation and friendships. I bonded with them over moments that we remembered from school and reminiscing about teachers that we have loved, or disliked. This is an easy one, because you already have much of your life in common with these people, so you have shared experiences to talk about.
Get support from friends from home
Don’t lose track of your friends from home. This one is certainly easier said than done with the constant flurry of university life. Keeping these contacts means that you have a support network for advice from people who you are familiar with and know you. They can be there to help you and share their experiences too if they are also at uni, making friends.
I personally like to play games online with my friends from home, which works really well, because most of us are in the same position of living at uni in different parts of the country. I’ve found that Esports is a great way to merge new and old friends together as we all have something in common whilst playing the same game. Gaming is something that we enjoy, but this tip applies to any hobby or activity. Introducing new and old friends to participate in any activity will help your circle to grow over that shared interest whilst having the support and confidence from those older friends who know you best.
Remember, uni is about two main things, working hard and having fun. So, please try not to be too anxious about making friends and not wanting to party all the time. However, if you are worried, I hope you find some reassurance knowing that I was there too. The end of my second year is fast approaching and I can promise you that after your first few months of uni, you will not be concerned, as you’ll find people who are into the same things as you.
Hi, my name is Harry and my pronouns are he/him/his. I am a second year Building Surveying student living in Leeds and I enjoy playing Squash and gaming with my friends. I hope to support every student in feeling as comfortable as possible during their time at Leeds Beckett, while also enabling them to challenge their own beliefs on what it's possible to achieve at university.