How to make friends at university
Whether you’re fresh out of high school or in your final year, making new friends can be daunting. But it really shouldn’t be. Here are some of Angela Zhao’s top tips on how to make friends at uni.
Here we are midway through the semester. Done and dusted are the days of orientation and awkward ice-breakers. So how do you make friends at university at this time of the year?
Join a society and go to its events
One of the best and easiest ways to make friends is to join a club or society. Here at UTS, we have over 130 clubs, including cultural-, sporting- and faculty-based societies. With the plethora of diverse interests catered for, there's bound to be something for you. These societies run events throughout the year, where you can socialise and make friends with fellow members, such as those in UTSoC. Before UTSoC, I didn’t have many friends studying Communications, but after going their social events, I managed to make lots of friends that I still hang out with to this day. I highly recommend that you check out UTSoC’s upcoming pub-crawl, The Hunt, which is this Friday. You can sign up as a team, or come as individual and be added to a team. After all, there is nothing better than battling together for the greater good of the universe to create friendships.
Go to lectures and take advantage of group work
Yes, it sounds nerdy, but with communications students only having an average of nine contact hours a week, the more time spent at uni, the more likely you are going to meet new people and grow closer to the familiar faces that you've been seeing here and there.
Group work - love it or hate it - is a central and permanent fixture of almost every subject. Out of the nine hours per week, there’s bound to be a group you kick it with. Take advantage of the project time to get to know your team members a bit better by grabbing coffee before class, or having after-class drinks. Not only is this a great boost to your interpersonal and conversational skills, but it also helps you get an idea of how to interact with various types of people that are out of your comfort zone.
Use your interests and take advantage of UTS initiatives to pursue them
Not only do these make your resume shine, but you get to meet an awesome group of passionate and like-minded individuals. For those who enjoy volunteering, there’s the Pack at UTS, the university’s student volunteering branch. For the people who want start their own business, there’s the Hatchery Ideate, where you embark on creating your own mock start up. And for those wanting to be future leaders and make a difference, why not check out programs such as the Build Program or SOUL award? These initiatives are completely free for all UTS students and staff to join.
Head to The Loft or Underground
For those of you requiring a little Dutch courage, you can head to The Loft or The Underground during happy hour (4pm - 6pm). There’s always someone to talk to, us UTS folks won’t bite or back down from challenging a stranger to billiards. Otherwise, if it is quiet, you can always have a small chat with or swoon over the bar staff - most of the time they are UTS students themselves.
Be brave and keep positive
I understand that it may seem like this step is ultra-difficult for the quieter types. I once was in your shoes. I started my communications degree not knowing anyone in my faculty, as all my friends went to other universities. I was sitting alone anxiously when I saw a group of girls next to me, and after five minutes of prepping myself, I got the courage to introduce myself. Today, I still consider them as one of my best university mates - we’ve been to Melbourne together, countless brunches, and have made multiple memories together. All this was possible because I had that conversation. The more initiative you take to meet people and start conversations, the higher the chances of you going to find that gem of a friend. Quite often you’ll find that others are feeling the same way - too shy or scared to make that first move.
Your future university best friend, friend, or partner is out there, and like getting that job, they will not know you are out there unless you put yourself out there. You got this!
Angela Zhao is a final-year Advertising student, who enjoys the arts, food, and aims to make the most out of this year. After deferring a year, she realised she didn’t recognise many people in her tutorial but, not to fret, she’s a seasoned pro of the spontaneous conversation.