To all you Freshers out there, you may start to sweat at the mere mention of the dreaded act of socialisation. In order to help you through this awkward, angst inducing stage of life – I thought I would share my own experiences with making friends in first year and some top tips. Believe me if I could do it, so can you.
Step One: Be Outgoing – Talk to Everyone!
You may think this goes without saying but it can be more difficult than you think.
Don’t hesitate before walking up to people. Wherever you go – be it the kitchen, campus or even health registration- make the extra effort to chat to those around you.
“It’s a simple truth: people just want to be talked to”
As human beings, we have a habit of judging before knowing. One of the most poignant memories I have upon arriving at university was a night out at the local Spoons in Beeston. I was amongst a crowd of Freshers from Albion House (my old accommodation). Glancing around, I quickly formulated opinions based on my first introductions to, and the appearances of my fellow Freshers. Mostly, my conclusions were very wrong. Two pitchers later and I was helping some random girl, whom I had previously thought was way too cool and hipster for me to talk to, with her Tinder bio. It’s a simple truth: people just want to be talked to.
In fact, most of the time they’re looking for a doorway into a conversation, and you could be the person to provide that much needed social release.
I made friends in the weirdest of places such as the laundry room and even (as I mentioned earlier) at my health registration in Trent. Everyone was just sitting in pensive silence, filling out their forms and minding their own business… and then I came along. I was so caught up in my nervous chattering that one girl got up and left and was replaced with another and I didn’t even notice.
However, that was the day that I met my friend Dom. He was sitting beside me and was very concerned that I was giving out a lot of personal information (not really, I don’t think it’s particularly life threatening if they knew I didn’t have asthma!).
This led to us moseying around the myriad of pop-up stalls, collecting thousands of pens and key rings. We even stood through a half an hour discussion about some now-forgotten subject all because Dom really wanted a bottle opener that the rep kept dangling just out of reach until we’d signed the dotted line.
“Join your degree’s or accommodation’s page and get into their group chats so you can get to know people better.”
Other than that, Facebook is a real saviour. If you haven’t already, I advise you to join your degree’s or accommodation’s page and get into their group chats so you can get to know people better. This is a great way to suggest meeting up or even walking to lectures together. Remember, everyone’s more or less in the same situation as you.
Step Two: The More the Merrier – Invite People Along
Going to events and inviting other people to get in on the fun is fundamental in making friends. (By the way, when I say “events” I don’t explicitly mean going out and getting absolutely smashed.)
I won’t lie, Tesco’s finest and cheapest wine, The Straw Hat, has led to many a good bonding session. Although, it is not mandatory to mutually cry about how “I’ll never drink again” whilst simultaneously throwing up that day’s ready meal to socialise.
Rather, what I found when I got to university is that not many people drink. Despite what disapproving Telegraph articles may tell you about the rise in drunken Freshers’ this doesn’t really seem the case. Watching an episode of Black Mirror on Netflix and eating popcorn till 2 am can be quite a lot of students preferred version of a “wild night”.
For example, something that was key to laying the foundations to our friendship was inviting my newfound friend Dom to a showing of ‘Anomalisa’ by the alternative film society. He arrived late and basically walked in on what can only be described as a puppet sex scene. It was a good thing the poor sod had picked up a glass of free wine as he passed through the economics social – he was going to need it! However, the whole escapade was very amusing and even gave us something to laugh about.
My advice for getting to know people better: go to a society taster session and invite some people from your course. Make a suggestion to your flatmates to go explore the city together or even just go to a screening of a movie. There is so much going on in Nottingham that you can be sure to have endless opportunities to make new friends.
Step Three: Keep Track & For Goodness Sake, REMEMBER NAMES!
“Those awkward instances when someone remembers your name but you can’t for the life of you recall even their first initial”
You’re going to meet a lot of people in the first few weeks. And you’re probably not going to remember their names. This is a simple fact of life I’m afraid and one that we’ve all encountered. Those awkward instances when someone remembers your name but you can’t for the life of you recall even their first initial.
That is exactly what happened to me when I went to introduce Dom to my friend Ralph after the show. I forgot Ralph’s name and introduced him as someone called Ned – I don’t even know anyone by the name of Ned!
Alas, there is a way to solve this recurring issue and that is to get people to add you on Facebook instead of asking their name again. In hindsight, that would have saved me a lot of embarrassment!
I was absolutely terrified about university. In my head, I saw everyone else as having their lives much more together and being more independent than myself.
The truth is, you’re all in the same boat. If you want to succeed, let loose those sails, sit back and let yourself relax a little.
Featured image courtesy of ‘Rainier Martin Ampongan’. Image licence found here.