Arriving at university for the first time is a combination of excitement and nerves. For many students, it is the first time leaving home, which can cause feelings of stress and anxiety. One of the biggest concerns students have when leaving their comfort zones and entering uni is making new friends and dealing with loneliness.
According to a report, over 15% of students feel lonely daily, with worse figures for disabled, international, black and minority ethnic students. The survey also found that more than one in six students say they have no ‘true friends’ among their peers.
Six Ways to Make Real Friends at University
If you find yourself struggling to make friends, here are some tips to meet people and make new connections.
1. Remember that everyone is nervous
Everyone is likely feeling the exact same way as you are, so extend some kindness to the people around you. Take the time to approach new friends first – they’ll probably appreciate an icebreaker as much as you would!
2. Attend fresher’s events
Get to as many Fresher’s events as possible. While all the events may not be your cup of tea, these are perfect opportunities to get out, socialise, connect and meet your peers. Not every event is about drinking and partying, so look out for those organised by the university for the chance to meet like-minded people.
3. Join groups and societies
Most universities have a myriad of groups and societies to join, so you will likely find one that suits your interests. Once you have joined a group or society, be sure to attend the meetings and events regularly, and you will soon be mingling and interacting with students who share your interests and passions. Plus, these types of extracurricular activities will look great on your CV, which is a bonus.
4. Stay on campus and hang out in common areas
Get out there and hang out in the common areas. If you need a place to study, the library may be a great place to meet people and form or join existing on-campus study groups. Also, try hanging out in the kitchen, living room or common area during the day, and you are guaranteed to meet people coming and going.
5. Organise day trips
If you prefer to get out and about, take the initiative and organise day trips for students with similar interests. Do some research to find exciting and affordable activities in your area and plan a day out. Not only will you meet new people, but they’ll probably appreciate you taking the lead and experiencing something different.
6. Talk to someone you trust
If loneliness is affecting your day-to-day life, speak to a trusted friend or family member back home, or a student counsellor or mentor. Most universities in the UK have on-campus student counselling services that can assist students who aren’t feeling their best. Take advantage of these services if you are struggling with loneliness or any other issues, like how to cope with anxiety at university.