What if you don’t make friends?

This post is for anyone who has settled into university life but is still struggling with finding and meeting new friends. University is a daunting time for anyone – especially when it comes to meeting new people but you must remember that there are people out there most likely in the same position as you.

I was so nervous before starting university because I had the mindset that I wasn’t going to meet anyone that was like me (in terms of similar interests and hobbies). I had built up so much stress before I moved away to university that I already knew that I was going to be apprehensive. I realised looking back at it, that I was wrong.

I’m in my second year of university and have had the chance to meet people from the two universities that I have been to and can tell you that I was stressed, especially when I transferred to USW because I thought that everyone would have their friendship groups all formed from being in First year. But I realised that everyone was ‘in the dark’, in terms of their friendship groups because Second year tends to be the year that students specialise in their individual subjects. You tend to find that new friendship groups are formed from new classes.

But if you are a fresher, still struggling to make friends then I have created some tips that I believe will be useful to follow.

  1. Don’t let it bring you down. At the end of the day, you’re at University to study and sure making friends is a huge part of University but just remember that you are independent and it is ok not to have lots of friends. Also, don’t let it bring you down. Making friends is great but if you’re struggling then don’t be disheartened.
  2. Realise that it’s your head that’s holding you back. You should respect and appreciate your individualism and shouldn’t care what people think. In university, you will find it refreshing to meet new characters and personalities, so don’t just look for people exactly the same as you.
  3. Have confidence! I believe that this is half the battle. It’s not easy being shy and putting yourself out there but once you get over that hurdle then you’ll find it easy to mix with anyone. Also, when it comes to your chosen career path you will find that most employers wish to employ someone who has confidence and belief in what they are doing – so try to put yourself out there.
  4. You can make friends online. I started this blog with the intent to make a difference to new students, who know nothing about university and I have met so many new friends from it. Using the internet to make friends can be useful but just remember to be careful with who you do and don’t trust.
  5. Join clubs and societies. I’m sure most of you will be reluctant to join or participate in something that you know nothing about but this is a great way to meet new people. Also, you can join societies at any time in the year. You will most likely have to pay a small subscription or membership fee but it will be worth it.
  6. Forget about age, disability and race. Transferring to USW was a bit different to what I imagined in terms of making friends. I realised that university is for anyone who wishes to continue their studies. I have met some of the nicest friends in USW, who are all different ages and come from different backgrounds, ranging from 18-37 and from all over the globe.  Don’t think that you can’t be friends with someone because they are completely different to you. You will find that people older than you are more mature and international student may have more experiences to share with you than someone of maybe your age or younger or someone from your country.
  7. Don’t be that person that stays in their bedroom, avoiding meeting people. This is possibly the worst thing you can do. How do you propose that you are going to meet people if you shut yourself away from the real world?
  8. Take part in any and every event you possibly can. Not only will you meet new people but taking part in university activities will look great on your CV. Fundraising or campaigning for student voice rep or a member of your student’s union can pretty much guarantee that you will make lots of friends.
  9. Making friends may or may not come natural to you but remember that you can’t buy friendship. Being friendly, smiling at people as they walk past and even saying the occasional “hello” makes you more approachable than someone who has earphones in, shutting the world out. Stick to a smile and I can promise you that it will go a long way.
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