Top 5 tips

Simona is a third and final year undergraduate student at the University of Essex and in 2018 came to England for the first time without knowing anyone. Simona’s personal experience, starting from a “blank page” has helped her to share her top five tips for making friends at university.

When the academic year started I did not have any family or friends at university, or in the same country even! I decided to make new friends that would have the same interests and outlook on the world, to help me have the best experience in higher education. Here are my top five tips to help you enjoy your university experience too.

Tip 1: Join online group chats

Before you come to university you can join many designated group chats for ‘Welcome Week’ (also known as Freshers!)on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

This way you can start making friends by chatting, getting to know other students, what they will be studying, where they’ll be living and what events they’re attending in ‘Welcome Week’.

Tip 2: Join new societies and clubs

I know that the start of the university can be scary and unknown, but this is the time when you can explore new hobbies and find people who have the same interest in a certain society and club. Each society and club have taster sessions where you can try it before becoming an official member.

Do not be scared to get out of your comfort zone! You might discover hobbies that you never thought you would like.

Tip 3: Join your department meetings

During ‘Welcome Week’, you will have meetings with your heads of department, professors, older students, and your future classmates. By joining this meeting, you will get an insight of normal classes of your course, get an opportunity to ask any questions about your department, and start making new friends with your future classmates.

Tip 4: Say Hi to your neighbours!

I think it is important to have a good relationship with people that you will be living with. Being welcoming and approachable will help you to get to know your flatmates faster and better.

Also, do not be scared to strike a random conversation and hang in the communal spaces, you might meet your future best friend in your accommodation (like I did, 4 of them!).

Tip 5: Invite new friends

Try to invite people to do things with you, it could be trying a society or a club together, going to a departmental event or your accommodation gathering. Be aware that everyone is in the same boat as you and they want to make new friends as much as everyone else!

I would like to wish you good luck for the first week of university and I hope you will find lifelong friends and discover new hobbies!