For me like many others, making friends was one of my biggest concerns when starting University. I had never been an overly confident person and often wondered how others found it so easy. My worries were soon put at ease and I found myself meeting lots of people and settling in well. So here’s some advice based on experience if you’re feeling the same way.
The first and most important piece of advice is to know that everyone starting university is also looking to make friends! The chances are a lot of the people around you are feeling the same way, so don’t worry you aren’t feeling this way alone. Search for social media groups for your course or halls of residence and get to know some students’ before you arrive.
After you pick up your keys, unload your boxes and wave goodbye to your parents, it can feel lonely. A great thing to do first and it seems small but it will make a big difference, is open your door. New flatmates will walk past and an open door is an easy way to say hi and initiate conversation. If people arrive after you, you could offer to help carry something or hold open their door. Asking around before you boil the kettle is another easy way to start a conversation; all these little things can break the ice!
After the introductions are done, there is likely to be an event that evening. Going out alone can be a little scary so speak to your new flatmates and get together in your communal area before going out, this gives you the opportunity to get to know each other more and you’ll have someone to travel to the event with. You can even go across the hall or up and down the stairs to invite students in other flats too, take a flatmate if you aren’t too confident.
After your first couple of days I hope you will be a little more settled, having made friends with your flatmates and seeing other familiar faces around campus. For some, the friends they make in halls are their friends throughout their time at university. For others, your flatmates may have different interests and you want to meet more people.
The best advice I can give is to join a society or a sports club. There are over 70 societies and 44 sports teams here in Derby and during Welcome, they will be hosting give it a go sessions to give new students a taste of what they do. Societies range broadly from gaming and nursing to musical theatre and DJ society and if you still can’t find anything on the list that interests you, you can start your own.
You can get involved in traditional sports like football, netball or rugby or try something a little different like Cheerleading or Archery. If you’re not super active (I wasn’t and I’m still not and the word sport made me feel somewhat nauseous) there are many levels you can get involved in sports either for fun or competing nationally representing Derby, whatever suits you. Making friends is easy when part of a society or sports club as everyone has the same common interest; most meet weekly and often host their own social events to welcome you further.
If you need a part time job whilst you study, the Union employ over 100 student staff members in their shops, cafes and bars and is just another great way to meet other students. After participating in 2 sports clubs and working for the Union part time, I found myself with a wide group of friends and a university experience I will never forget. I would encourage everyone joining us here in September to get involved with the union of students, follow their passion and make friends for life.
I hope I’ve eased your worries a little, the University of Derby is such a diverse and welcoming community there really is a place for everyone here and I look forward to welcoming you.