Thursday, 5 September 2019

How to make friends at uni - Holly's Declassified Uni Survival Guide

Hello, hello and welcome to the third post in my back to uni series, 'Holly's Declassified Uni Survival Guide'. In a University full of freshers flu, last-minute assignments and the occasional hangover, Holly Smith, that's me, and well it's just me, try to do the impossible, create a guide that will help you survive university.  

Today's post is all about making friends. Going off to Uni can be really daunting (for I would say 99% of people) and I know one of those major areas of anxiety can be the thought of making new friends. You're in a whole new place (often miles and miles from home), in a completely new situation with, for most people, nobody you know and it is scary! So I am here today to give you some practical advice to ease your worries and help guide you through the madness that is freshers.

1. Get involved
This is a pretty vague statement but it is vague for a reason. There are so so SO many ways to get involved at uni which is great because it means you will almost definitely find something for you. You could join a society (there is a society for everything!), volunteer, get involved in your course, join a sport or get involved in one of the many other ways! Push yourself out of your comfort zone and see what your uni can offer for you.

2. Take charge
One of the easiest ways to make friends is to take charge and make plans. You will meet so many people during your time at uni, especially in those first few weeks. If you meet someone you click with, arrange to hang out! It could be grabbing a coffee, going out or even just attending a fresher event. It can be a little daunting to initiate the first interaction but somebody has got to do it and especially in those first few weeks people are dying to make friends and will likely be glad you asked!

3. Be realistic
Realistically, making friends takes time. While freshers can act as a bit of a catalyst, it still takes time before you have people you can truly consider a friend. Meet lots of people and get to know them but don't get worried when you feel you haven't made good friends yet. Things like this take time and making sure you go in with realistic expectations will ensure you don't get dishearted when things don't go perfectly (spoiler alert- there is no perfect!!). Enjoy the process and relax.

4. Don't try too hard
When you find yourself alone, you start to feel pretty desperate to friends. This is fine and totally makes sense because hello who likes to be alone? That being said, if you're stressing about it and trying too hard, things can backfire. Not only can trying too hard lead you to trying to change yourself in order to be liked but also it might mean you miss out on some even better friends. Let me explain. Particularly with university, it can be easy to cling to the first people you meet. Now it's great if you gel with those people straight away, but try not to limit yourself to those people exclusively. If you find you just don't click with someone, realise that you don't have to be friends with everyone, let it go and try to find some people more your type.

5. Be yourself
I would argue that the single most important piece of advice about making friends is this - possibly the most cliche advice going, but it is cliche for a reason! I have found myself in the situation before where I was so desperate to be liked that I started acting like (what I thought) someone they would like would act like. I felt disconnected, unhappy and ultimately alone. As soon as I let go of this concept of who I was meant to be and just accepted myself for who I am, I found I connected with people easier, I was happier and ultimately I made friends! The funniest part of that story is that actually, those people liked me just as much when I was really being myself, if not better because we connected so much better.

There we have my 5 top tips for making friends at uni. If you're about to head off to uni (or college as they say in the US of A) then just remember to be yourself, be kind and you will find your tribe.


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