University can be tough. For many, it is the first time away from family, friends and home comforts, so settling in can take time.
Having good friends can certainly ease the process and make it an enjoyable experience. Expanding your social group to meet new people takes time, but it is really worth the effort. Here are 5 great ways to meet new people…
University societies offer you the opportunity to try something new and different.
Sports and activities are a good way to keep fit and discover hobbies, for example the Chess Society or the Pole Fitness Society.
Charitable organisations are another way to meet people and try something new. You’ll be able to take part in various activities such as fundraising events and socials which will stand out to employers on your CV.
Academic/career related societies offering the opportunity to network with top firms and build your professional network are also available. In a competitive graduate job market, the ultimate aim is to stand out from the crowd.
Common interest groups and faith groups can be an excellent way to meet like-minded individuals who share the same interests as you. There are plenty on offer from religious societies such as the Jewish Society and the Christian Union, to the wackier societies such My Little Pony Society also known as ‘bronies/cloppers’.
If you’re living in student accommodation, these are the first people you will meet and you will probably see your flatmates more than other friends. Most interactions will be short so being friendly and interested is important. If your flatmate has only come in to the kitchen for a cup of tea perhaps do not ask them about the meaning of life. Hopefully these will be strong friendships throughout your time at uni even if you don’t live together next year.
Since you have chosen the same degree as others on your course you already have something in common. Course mates are particularly helpful if you’re unsure about coursework deadlines or just need some help. An informal study group is highly recommended and a good way of meeting others in a similar position. Try sitting in different seats each lesson so you’re talking to more people.
The university can offer heavily discounted trips to other cities and countries. This is a good opportunity for international students, or students who like to travel, to explore new surroundings. Universities can offer work experience and voluntary opportunities on campus if you’re seeking additional income or experience. This is a great way to interact with people you wouldn’t otherwise meet.
When you join university, you are suddenly part of this large student community known as the “campus bubble”. You’re also part of the community within the city. The city will have its own food markets, tourist attractions and events that make it a unique place to live and study. Dive into city life by going to an arts event or follow a local band. Pub gigs are a great way to meet like-minded music fans.
You’ll meet lots of people throughout your university experience with some becoming life-long friends. Take a risk and explore the new opportunities university has to offer - after all, you don’t make friends by staying in your room.
Colin Nelson is a second-year Economics student at Lancaster University and a member of the Pearson Student Advisory Board.