Uni Life: You've Asked, We've Answered – The Guide to Making Friends & Keeping Them

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Are you that person constantly trying to conceal your stomach rumbling in the middle of your tutorial? Feeling a little lonely? Think that tutorial ice-breakers do nothing but break your self-confidence? Stephanie Luong spills the secrets on how to meet your BFF on campus, and where to score the best cheap eats and drinks to help that friendship flourish.

 Welcome back to another instalment of Uni Life!

This week covers the most popular requests; it appears that we are all in the same boat – secretly searching for that special someone and a place to share satisfying and cheap meals together.

From my experience, making and maintaining university friendships require more effort because everyone’s lives are so different – there are work, timetable and suburb clashes to consider.

1.     “Where can I eat for cheap/free/under $10 near/on campus?”

Unless you’re a meal prepping wiz, you’re most likely constantly on the look-out for a good food deal that doesn’t require a trip to the Haymarket Woolworths. I love those chicken chips as much as the next person, but here are my top places to have a budget lunch on or near campus:

Hannah’s Hot Pies
You’ll find this on your trek to the Powerhouse Museum, and it’ll make the trip down The Goods Line well worth it. Here you’ll find hot dogs, pies (of course), hot bread rolls and chips. The most expensive thing on the menu comes in at about $11, and includes a pie with mushy pea, hot chips with sauce and a can of soft drink. I recommend having your pie topped with mash and gravy, and mushy peas for the health-conscious.

Bread Rolls on Harris
Spot this on Harris Street, directly opposite TAFE, for a delicious Vietnamese pork roll for a steal of $4, at least by city price standards. Destination Roll, I’m looking at you and your $9 pork rolls.

Pho Gia Hoi
Vietnamese pork roll didn’t hit the spot? Head to this ‘orange’ Vietnamese restaurant on George Street in Haymarket, for a cheap ($8-9), fast, and decently-sized beef noodle soup.

Night Owl Noodle Bar

Find this in the Tower Building Foyer, from 5-7:30pm on Thursdays during the semester for free noodle soup! You’ll find healthy and delicious dishes such as Vietnamese beef noodle soup or Burmese coconut chicken.

Bluebird Brekkie Bar
Head over to the Haymarket Moot Courtyard on Tuesdays, and Tower Building Foyer on Wednesdays, from 8:30am till 11am, for free breakfast to get you through those dreaded 9am lectures! You’ll find enough here to satisfy the pickiest of breakfast foodies – muesli, fresh fruit, yoghurt, sourdough with avocado (DIY smashed avo!) and spreads.

Penny Lane
Find this in UTS Building 11, and splurge that $10 on a satisfying daily lunch special.

2.     “How do I make friends cross-faculty?”

Head down to the UTS Underground, have some liquid courage (in moderation) and get chatting!

Making friends at university is all about putting yourself out there and making that first move to get to know someone. This applies to making friends in general – not just cross-faculty. Although, it will be easier to make friends with those you sit with in tutorials, group assignment groups and, who knows? Those random strangers you sit next to in lectures may turn out to be your new BFF.

Take a chance, and propose to hit up one of my highly recommended lunch spots after class, or maybe de-stress at the end of the day with a drink or two.

Another great way to make friends is to attend society/faculty events! You can easily do a quick Facebook search for the next event that society/faculty is holding, click ‘going’ and all that’s left is to decide what to wear.

3.     “How do I keep my friends when I live so far away in Western Sydney?”

I definitely relate to the woes of living far – by far, I mean in Western Sydney. It seems like all of your friends are unaffected by the proposal of a 10am meet-up. Whilst you’re doing some serious calculations, beginning at what time you’ll have to sleep the night before to how long you’ll have to get ready if you need to wake up at a certain time to make the once-every-hour train.

The only way to deal with this is to speak up! Most people are simply unaware of your time and travel struggles, and will be more than happy to get some extra shut-eye and push back that brunch to 11am, or push forward evening plans if you’d like to get home earlier.

Every fortnight on The Comma, I will be making the stress of university life slightly better by answering any questions you have, so send them through to the Google Form!

Stephanie Luong is a second-year combined Law/Communications (Social and Political Sciences) student and is most likely asleep right now, or at any given moment really.