Starting university: Finding the friends who’ll last longer than freshers’ week

Remember, everyone's in the same boat as you

Meeting people from all walks of life is just one of the many great things about being at university. Being part of a big student community gives you the perfect opportunity to create the friendships that, in many cases, will last for many years to come.

But moving out of your parents’ home, and living with two or three, or maybe even five or six strangers, can be a daunting prospect, so here are a few tips that can help with finding new friends, and making those first few weeks at university a bit easier.

Get involved

The choice of events, clubs and societies at university is endless. Make the most of freshers’ week and sign up to a range of activities – you can be as adventurous as you like, as there are often new things to try, and many clubs allow you a trial session before you sign up.  This is a great way to meet new people and develop a common interest.

Volunteer

Your student union or accommodation provider will be able to give you advice on local charities and groups who need volunteers. It’s a great way to meet new people and do something worthwhile, at the same time as building your skills and enhancing the all-important CV.

Get social

Hop online. Your university will almost always have a Facebook page (and there may even be one for your hall or accommodation), where you can find out who else will be joining at the same time as you. Or run a few searches on Twitter – there’s bound to be plenty of people at your new university, on your course, or in the same accommodation as you. Getting to know a few people online before you move to a brand new city can make the transition much easier.

Don’t underestimate the power of the humble cuppa

Taking a big teapot with you, and brewing up enough for all your new flatmates in the shared kitchen can be a great icebreaker. Throw in a packet of biscuits for people to help themselves, and you’re well on your way to being the most popular person in the flat before you’ve even unpacked. Obviously, coffee – or even a bottle of wine – will do the job too...

Let your flatmates know you’ve moved in

It sounds obvious, but with students turning up at different times, it can be hard to know who’s arrived. Display photos, or your name and a message on your door.

Take along a game

Dissecting your first freshers’ week night out over a cup of tea and a round of Jenga or Articulate can be a great way to get to know the people you’re living with.

Make the most of your existing networks

Are any of your friends from school or college going to the same university as you? While it’s not a good idea to rely too heavily on existing groups of friends, as you’ll miss out on meeting people who might come to be your best friends, they can be a useful starting point from which to meet other people.

Spend some time in common areas

Whether that’s the shared kitchen of your flat, the student union, or the library coffee bars. You’ll start to recognise familiar faces, which makes it much easier to strike up a conversation.

Have spare pens with you when you go to lectures

Being able to lend one to the person in the seat next to you who’s forgotten theirs is a good way to start a conversation with someone who’ll be on hand when you want to talk to someone about your course!

Study groups

After seminars or tutorials, suggest to a couple of people that you form a study group – getting together once a week to go over lecture notes and reading lists can be a great way to make new friends and get some academic help at the same time.

Befriend the international students

However nervous you are, spare a thought for any international students – especially those for whom English might not be a first language – who have it far harder. Go out of your way to chat to them – or explain the finer nuances of Tesco versus Asda, and you could find you’ve got a new friend already.

Making a new set of friends can seem like a daunting prospect at first, but it helps to remember that everyone’s in the same boat. Dive in with enthusiasm, and you might find that in a week or so, you can’t imagine why you were ever worried in the first place.

Simon Griffiths is an area manager for London at UNITE

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Software Developer

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Join a fast growing software co...

Guru Careers: Graduate Account Executive / Digital Account Executive

£20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Graduate / Digital Account Exe...

Guru Careers: Junior Designer / Design Graduate

£18k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Junior Designer / Design Graduate to join...

Recruitment Genius: Key Sales Account Manager / Graduate Trainee

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Key Sales Account Manager/Graduate Trainee i...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas