How to Make Friends at University and Escape Your Comfort Zone | Top Universities

How to Make Friends at University and Escape Your Comfort Zone

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Updated Apr 11, 2021



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By Charlotte Stevenson

Arriving at university can be simultaneously the most nerve-wracking and exciting experience, a moment where you leave your comfort zone and begin to try new things and meet lots of new people. Freshers’ week is a perfect opportunity to make friendships that will last a lifetime and test your boundaries, but knowing where to start can be tricky.

If you’re struggling to adapt to university life, escape your comfort zone and meet new people, here are some ways you can start.

Attend plenty of freshers’ events


While not all of the events put on in freshers’ week may be for you, it’s important to use these opportunities to socialize and engage with some friendly faces. Even if something sounds boring or not your thing, going along means you’ll have a chance to know your class-mates and the people you’ll be living with.

If you're not a party person, don’t worry. Not all freshers’ events are based around drinking lots of alcohol and going out until late. Keep an eye out for other activities which have been organized at your university. In my first year, I ended up going on a selfie hunt across campus with my housemates, which was a hilarious experience and a great opportunity to build friendships.

Find clubs and societies that fit your interests


Whatever your interests and hobbies, I guarantee there will be at least one club or society connected to it at your university.

In addition to societies connected to things you already enjoy doing, a good way to push the limits of your comfort zone is to try something new. This could be something you’ve always wanted to try but have never done before, such as rock climbing or sign language. The vast range of university societies means it’s a fantastic opportunity to try these things and all groups will be used to catering for novices. Rise to the challenge and say yes to something different. You'll be surprised by the result.

Head out and explore your area


No matter how well you know the area your university is in, there is still nothing better than heading out with your friends, a map and the aim to have an adventure. It's a real exercise of trust to let yourself get lost and know you’re in charge of working out your way back, and will help you discover parts of your new home apart from the ones you walk past on the way to lectures each day. Often, you’ll find the places you discover by accident are the ones which remain the most memorable.

Find out if you can study abroad for a year


Depending on what you’re studying, you might have the opportunity to study abroad for a term or even a year. Normally, this happens in your second year at university, so it’s a good idea to find out at the start of first year and start planning. While this is a big leap to make on your own, your university will provide lots of support and the experience will be unforgettable. There’ll be lots of other students also going abroad from your university, so you’ll be able to share plans and tips with each other in the build-up. If you can’t study your course abroad at any point, it’s still worth researching the modules and other course options that will be open to you further down the line, so you can plan ahead and push yourself academically.

Ask every question you want to


It can be easy to stay quiet upon arriving at university and let the new people and information you encounter wash over you, but doing so will only make escaping your comfort zone harder in the long run. The beginning of university is the best time to ask the questions that pop into your head, whether it's asking someone in halls where they're from or checking with your tutor what a particular word means. Asking these questions will encourage you to be more communicative and create the opportunities for conversation with people. No question is ever too foolish, so try not to feel nervous.

Don’t try and reinvent yourself


Adjusting to university life shouldn’t mean you need to change who you are to fit in. Don't completely erase who you are as a person, but instead allow yourself to develop a little further into the person you want to be.

Being yourself is the best way to head into a new situation because it means you'll feel much more comfortable and this will help put other people at ease. Remember, you're all in the same boat by being in this new place full of strangers.

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