When you think of University, what comes to mind? Heavy drinking with mates, huge clubbing nights, attending massive social events and creating bonds for life are just a few thoughts I’m sure. For many, these antics become an instant cycle. For others, not so much. University can also be a lonely place.
This isn’t to say that University cannot be an incredible social experience for everyone, because in so many cases it’s exactly that. My point is simply that some individuals thrive from the get-go, whereas others may take a little longer to find their footing in Uni life.
If you can relate to the latter of these statements; you needn’t worry! So many people struggle with meeting new people or feeling a little lonely, especially in the first year. I’ve seen this first hand and, especially in my first few days at University, experienced it for myself. Moving away from home can be difficult enough, but when you’re constantly surrounded by people you don’t know, along with people who don’t know you… it can be rather daunting.The fact of the matter is, you will get through it. The odds are that with all the students around, you’re going to find your group of friends somewhere. With that being said, there is no logical reason as to why you can’t make things easier on yourself by speeding the process up a bit. The key to this is to put yourself in situations where the chances of meeting people are increased.
A great example of an opportunity to do this is through societies. As I’m sure most of you will know, societies are small organisations attached to separate universities. They can have a lot of members, or they can have a small few. As well as this, societies can be based on subjects as unique as Disney characters, or as generic as sports. Due to this, one society is bound appeal to you in some form. Just type the name of your university into Google along with ‘societies’ and see what comes up. On the off chance that no societies from your university appeal to you, why don’t you try joining one that you would never have even considered before seeing it? Sure, it’s a massive gamble, but stepping out of your comfort zone even slightly is a massive achievement in itself. Plus you’re bound to be mixing with new and different people. Of course that’s a scary thought right now, but an experience like this can boost your confidence on an astronomical scale.Understandably, societies may be seen as a step too far (for now at least). You may not want to commit to anything right now, or maybe you’re a bit too busy with work at this point in time. If that’s the case, try making the most of the opportunities you already have your disposal. Your flatmates, for instance. Maybe you pass them in the hall and say hello politely. Or who knows, maybe you don’t even say a word to one another. The guy/girl may even seem like some kind of alien to you but so what? Sometimes the people you grow closest to can be the complete opposite of yourself! Strike up a conversation or two, perhaps they’ll pleasantly surprise you.
A final suggestion (and perhaps the easiest of them all to follow) is to speak to students in your lectures/classes. It doesn’t matter how many or how few students there are on your course, you know for a fact that you’ve got at least one thing in common with each of them already. You can use that to your advantage simply by asking someone about some work and building from there. Speaking to a stranger can be absolutely terrifying, I’m hardly a social guru myself. However, if someone in your class said something to you, you wouldn’t react badly, would you? If the person you’re addressing is genuinely worth speaking to, they’ll have no problem with you whatsoever.Whether you attempt to follow any of these suggestions or not, take comfort in the fact that every student finds their group of friends in the end. Feeling a bit lonely or not knowing people is nothing to feel ashamed or embarrassed over, everyone goes through it at some stage. Keep positive and make the most of University, you’re only going to have this experience once. Make it a good one!