Starting university and making new friends is stressful at the best of times: so it is no wonder why so many students are feeling stress and anxiety about freshers week. While this year will look largely different from previous years it is still possible to make new friends and have fun while following government guidelines.
Befriend Your Flatmates
This may sound obvious or cliche but it is so important to make an effort with the people you are living with, especially this year. I am personally living in a house made up entirely of my flatmates from last year. Some ways that you can bond with your flatmates are by setting up a games night (whether you drink or not is up to you). Think of games where you get to know each other better like would you rather or two truths and a lie. Not only are these games fun, but you are learning more about the people you are living with. The more open and friendly you are with them the more that same sentiment will be reciprocated to you.
Alternatively, you guys can have a movie night in by setting up some blankets and having some drinks and popcorn, you can also have a painting night where you all try your hand at painting the same thing (look up Bob Ross tutorials on Youtube for some good ones to follow).
Even if you have already decided that some of them aren’t your cup of tea it is still important to put some effort into at least being on a friendly basis with them. Buy some snacks or tea for everyone to share or bake some cookies. Small acts of kindness towards your flatmates can really go a long way in making your first year a truly positive experience.
Join a Sports Team
It is a well-known secret that sports teams are some of the best ways to make friends at University. Even if you are not particularly gifted at a sport and don’t think you will make onto any of the university teams, it is still worth the look. Most courses have their own sports teams, such as Politics Netball, Music Netball etc. There are also club sports such as ultimate frisbee, swimming or kickboxing which you can join.
No matter what you choose joining a sports team is an amazing way to stay active during lockdown and meet some great people who likely have similar interests to you. Most of the sports teams also have socials or get together afterwards so while those plans may be put on pause for the time being you know that once lockdown has ended you will be able to socialize to the extreme with your teammates in the future.
Join a Society
This is very similar to the sports team idea. Cardiff University has hundreds of Societies that you can join so you are bound to find at least one or two that interest you. While most of their events are virtual societies are still a great way to meet other students who share your interests. A lot of Societies and even sports teams or clubs are still hosting their “Give it a Go Sessions”. These are an opportunity for you to try a sport or society without having to actually commit to joining it.
Additionally, most societies know that freshers are looking to make some friends and they are hosting events specifically for you to get involved and engaged with the other members. Don’t be afraid to ask people you meet after an online society social for some contact info like their number or social media. This is a great way to stay in contact and when restrictions have eased up a little invite them out to grab coffee or ice cream in town.
Make the Most of Your Course
While your lectures will be online, most of you will still have in-person Seminars or Labs. This is an amazing opportunity to befriend some of your coursemates. As I mentioned before when restrictions allow, don’t be afraid to ask someone in your seminar to grab a coffee or hang out.
It is also important to make the most of your Student Mentor Groups if you have them. Not only is the upper-year student their to answer any questions you have the group is also there to help you meet other freshers in your course. Make sure you attend your sessions with them and try and interact with the other students. If your mentor hasn’t set up a group chat or asked everyone to share some contact information maybe send them an email and ask them to do so. That way you already know at least some people that you will be seeing in your seminars/labs.
The Effort Put In Is The Reward Earned
The main point here is not to be scared or worried about making friends or about embarrassing yourself by actively asking people first to hang out. Every other fresher is in the same position as you and they too want to make some more friends.
The amount of effort you put into making friends will impact how you experience your first year at university. This year more than ever it is important you try and put yourself out there and truly engage with your surrounding. It may take a bit of effort but in the end, you are sure to find some like-minded individuals who you value as friends.
Who knows this may yet be the best year of your life.