Welcome back to the Student voice blog! This week, I want to talk about a finding your people at university. This is probably one of the only blog posts I have ever resisted writing because I feel somewhat out of my depth on this topic. In the end, however, that might have made me a good candidate to shed some light on what should try, and what you should avoid. Therefore, in today’s blog post I’ll be giving you a few tips about how to find your people at university.
Note: as I am a UK student, there will be some things that are specific to UK universities, but the vast majority of points are universal.
Talk To People In Your Lectures and Be Proactive
This is a simultaneously easy and difficult tip to start off. Of course, finding people most often relies on talking to others. We know we need to be social, talkative and proactive if we want to find new people in any environment.
But… this is scary.
I will fully admit I, among many others, find this sort of thing difficult. I am not a massive fan of talking to new people in large groups amongst other things. Despite that, though, I do encourage you to do it. I recommend you talk to new people, socialise, see where conversations take you. You might end up meeting someone really interesting, a person similar to yourself and hopefully a life long friend.
None of it is possible unless you take the first step and start talking to people.
Also I need to mention that everyone is in the same boat. Everyone in your lectures and seminars will be nervous, scared and anxious about meeting new people. There is nothing new here, so be kind to yourself and take the first step to talk to someone. On top of this, there is a great easy fact that might help you, giving you the world’s easiest ice breaker… You are all there to study the same thing. Everyone in my lectures and seminars is there to study psychology, so something I got to remember for my final year is to use the very easy ice break of “what made you want to study psychology?” or some version of that.
Instant ice breaker and conversation starter.
I think most of this idea about finding your people is down to all of us to stop being nervous about meeting new people and taking that first step. However, for many people, it is not so easy as simply deciding whether or not to take that step. In those instances, and perhaps for people who struggle with different anxieties, there is help to be found. Universities will often arrange meet-ups for certain groups, such as those who aren’t living in accommodation but chose to stay at home. If that fails, there’s yet another lifeline… societies!
This is the UK specific thing I mentioned earlier, but for the international audience, UK universities have these large social clubs that are formed around a particular activity called Societies. These I cannot stress enough are great ways to meet people.
For example, in my first year of university, I was a member of the Baking Society and this was a brilliant way to meet other people who enjoyed baking and did other degrees. Meaning I could hear their experiences, get to know them and get to learn from them. It was a great few hours every week where I got to hang out with people like me.
Additionally, the great thing about societies is most universities have tons of them centred around any activity you can imagine. So I would recommend you check out your university’s website to see what they offer, and if there are any that interest you, sign up and go to them. You could have a LOT of fun.
One of my friends in first year did the Quidditch society!
(And yes, that is the sport from Harry Potter)
Lastly, there are always academic societies available to students so this gives you another opportunity to mix with others students. Some of which will be from later stages at university so you can hear their experiences. That I do recommend you do.
Don’t Stress Out
As I alluded to in the first section, we all get stressed out or concerned about making new friends, meeting and mixing with new people. Unfortunately, it often takes a bit of a leap of faith, but do remember to keep an eye out for those helping hands and support sources offered by your university.
It’s always important to find your calmness and a way of relaxing. Always remember, though, that it is about putting yourself in the situations to make the most of these experiences. You may end up meeting a person to talk to, a friend for the rest of university or a true lifelong friend.
You will never know unless you take that first step.