International Friendship Day: Why making friends at uni is easier than you think

30 Jul 2021
By Hazel M., Freelance writer, journalist and total bookworm at Unite Students

Feeling anxious about making friends at university is normal, and we’ve all been there - but it doesn't have to be that way. In celebration of International Friendship Day, Hazel’s here to explain why making friends at uni will be easier than you think.

From meeting your flatmates for the first time to going to your first lecture with a load of strangers, those first days of university can be the hardest of all.

I mean, forget exams and coursework, wondering whether you’re actually going to make those vital social links is damn near terrifying!

The good news is that making friends is actually a lot easier than you think. That’s why, to celebrate International Friendship Day, I’m here to help you tackle some of those big worries.

Everyone’s in the same boat

You’ll hear this a lot when you’re heading off to university, but it’s probably one of the main things to bear in mind in those early days: everyone’s in the same boat.

Unless you just happen to know people from your college who are going to be on your course, the likelihood is that you’re not going to know anyone when you head to campus.

The thing is, no one else knows anyone, either.

So, nearly all of you are going to be feeling those same jitters about walking into a lecture for the first time or trying to make small talk with the flatmates over that first cup of tea (while your parents hang around in the background, terrified to leave).

This means everyone is essentially starting from the same place – and it’s actually something you can bond over. Be honest with people and tell them that you’re a little nervous, and you’ll no doubt be hearing the same back.

Freshers’ week of fun

Freshers’ week (which sometimes lasts two weeks) is made up of a series of events specifically designed to help students meet each other and make friends.

From the Freshers’ Fair, where you’ll be able to find out about all the societies at your uni, to bar crawls and numerous student union parties, there’s something in it for everyone.

So, whether you’re the type of person who makes friends easier over a beer, or you’re desperate to meet other skiers through the university’s snow sports society, you’ll no doubt find your kin during these initial events.

The fun isn’t limited to just the first couple of weeks, though, and you’ll find numerous union and society events are held throughout the year.

Friends for life

It sounds like a total cliché but those friends you make at university will become friends for life.

A lot of this is because you’re likely to meet a lot of people with the same interests as you, especially if they’re doing your course.

But the other thing is that, particularly with your flatmates, you will go through so much together over three years that they will eventually become like family.

Take me, for example; I moved into my first university flat ten years ago, and now I’m about to be a bridesmaid at my flatmate’s wedding.

Sure, it won’t be the same for everyone and you may end up living with some people you don’t like (I’ve been there, too), but, more often than not, there will usually be at least one person you click with.

University support

Universities know that starting university can be a real struggle for some people, especially if you’re not very outgoing.

And that means, if you find you’re not clicking with your flatmates or you’re really missing home, they have a multitude of support services to help you settle in.

Here at Unite Students, we offer an around-the-clock wellbeing and support service for all of our residents, which means you can access help and support whenever you need. All you need to do is get in touch with your reception team or contact our 24 hr Emergency Control Centre on 0300 303 1611.

If you’re struggling with your mental wellbeing, don’t forget there are also lots of services and organisations who can help. Check out who to speak to if you’re not feeling great right here.

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When not stringing words together, can usually be found on the local beach with her cocker spaniel pup, Huey.