Why you shouldnt be worried about making friends at university!
A big concern for many freshers coming to university is often “what if I don’t make any friends” or just the idea of being lonely. This is exacerbated by the fact this is often the first time many people really step out of their comfort zone and lived on their own. Personally, from day one, I never felt lonely as I had a great group of friends around me. However, this is a genuine concern for many, a concern I hope to alleviate some fear from.
Accommodation The people living in your accommodation flat, as well as the flats around you, are often the first people you will meet at university. For many, these become their closest friends for the remainder of the university and it is the easiest way to immediately make friends, seeing as you have to share a kitchen and potentially a bathroom together. They can easily become a day to day contact, people to discuss your problems and issues with, becoming more like family than friends. This was certainly the case for me, as my flat became friends with the flat adjacent to ours, making an even bigger support network which really helped me when I was feeling down. However, don’t feel pressure to get on with your flat and force yourself to. It is great if you do, but just because you may not get on really well with them, don’t assume you are going to have no friends at uni.
Freshers The atmosphere in Freshers, regardless of where you go, is electric. Everything is new, scary but exciting, and many are keen to dive into it. They will be events on every day and every night, so you can easily choose ones which appeal to you: whether that is going to a food court on campus, or a big night out at week 1 pop. The best advice I can give is throw yourself into it, even if you are a bit more reserved or shy and scared it won’t be your scene, this is the best time to find out what you do and don’t like about your university social life. For me, I made friends with people who I still see regularly now, who I wouldn’t have seen had I not gone out those first few nights. One friend, in particular, we were friends for 6 months before we knew the others name, having a friendship which consisted entirely of shouting “Wa-hey” and ordering a Jägerbomb together, before getting on with our nights separately.
Course Friendships with people on your course are different to any other you’ll have whilst at uni. You will spend your day to day academic time with them, going to lectures, seminars or labs together, working towards the same deadlines and sitting the same exams. The bond you can gain from shared distress is stronger than many anticipate, and course friends can quickly become your closest academic advisors for questions like “how do you even reference?” and “have you started yet?”. Above all, it is often very easy to get on with people on your course, as you already have a shared passion and interest, and when you’re all in the same boat with your workload it is easy to get on with people who understand all too well the day to day life you live. I would highly recommend you joining your course group chat on Facebook or WhatsApp before you go to uni, as this gives you contact with a large group of people and you begin to recognise faces. Throughout my first year, people would come up to me and know my name before we had ever met before in real life, and this is a great way to start to meet people before you have even got to uni. My closest course friend and I became friends very early on in the first year because we both bonded over not having a clue what was going on in the lectures, to begin with, and then using that seminar to understand it. This friendship continues to this day, and in the exact same fashion.
Societies Societies are brilliant for finding people who are like minded to you. Whether it is something specific like an eSports society, Game of Thrones society or something broader like RAG, it is easy to find a huge group of people who share a passion that you do. This makes the initial conversation of meeting people very easy, as you clearly already have something to talk about. The socials, events and meetings the society have quickly form a huge part of your social calendar, and these people easily become a separate group of people from your day to day uni life, and often offer an escape from the academic slog of uni life.
Sports Clubs Like societies, sports clubs allow you to enjoy something you have a passion for outside of your academic studies. The range of sports on offer at uni caters to whatever level you may be, as well as what level you like to compete at. If you’re very talented and competitive, the main Warwick uni teams compete in leagues against the other universities across the UK, often having multiple teams competing. For a more casual experience, many societies have sports teams, which play in leagues in university against other society teams. I currently play for Offside Story, the Musical Theatre Society’s football team. We play every Wednesday, and it is a fantastic catharsis which is competitive enough to push me to work as hard as I can, but casual enough I don’t lose sleep over losses. Sport is a brilliant way to combat stress at university and is a great way to get involved in a social group which become a close network of friends for you.
As you can see, regardless of your interests or your personality, there is an abundance of people to meet at university. People are keen to meet new people and form new friendships, so don’t go to uni worrying about not meeting people you get on with. They may not be in your flat, on your course, but they are out there, and by throwing yourself into uni life, you have the best opportunity to form friendships which could last for life.