How to Make Friends in First Year at the University of Sussex | Top Universities

How to Make Friends in First Year at the University of Sussex

By Rhyan C

Updated May 7, 2021 Updated May 7, 2021
  • Making friends in first year can be hard. One University of Sussex student reveals his top tips for making friends in your first year. 

So, you’ve reached a new chapter in your journey and are ready to attend the University of Sussex. Sussex is a place where there are endless dreamy seaside views, late night festivities at Shoosh, and squawky seagulls. 
However, you may be nervous about making friends. As we all know, making friends is not easy, especially if you’re leaving your hometown for the first time or are starting university virtually due to COVID-19.  
There’s no need to worry as I’ve got you covered with four Sussex-specific ways to help you make friends. 

Join a university society  

Now, you’ve probably heard this before and there’s a good reason behind it. I can’t stress how many people I have heard regret not joining societies in their first year at the University of Sussex. 
Even if you are going to the University of Sussex with your friends or are attending virtually, do not overlook the value of a society. Societies are a great way to meet and interact with people who share similar interests.  
Instead of awkward small talk for hours, you’ll be a part of exciting activities. You could be practicing backflips on a trampoline with others at the Trampoline Society or planning better on-campus recycling and food waste procedures at the Climate Action Movement Society.  
With over 180 societies at Sussex, there will be many opportunities to socialise and have fun - creating the potential for mere acquaintanceships to turn into full-blown friendships! 
Don’t panic -- societies at Sussex have adapted to the new COVID-19 rulings, making virtual and in-person events safe. This means nobody will miss out on the enjoyment of attending societies and making friends. 

Check out the major hangout spots 

There are a range of places to hang out and make friends on campus. The array of bars and cafés will allow you to meet new people easily, with each hangout spot having a different environment to suit your personality.  
You could check out the Northfield Bar, a lively lounge area fitted with some pool tables and an outside space. This hangout spot will allow you to grab a pint and get a pool game going – coming in handy when trying to make friends.  
If a pint-drinking, lively atmosphere is not your thing then the cafés may be more up your alley. Room 76 is a café that provides a quieter, cosier atmosphere to meet new people as you sip on Pearl’s famous bubble tea! 
But what if you’re an international student who is feeling homesick? Well, it’s a great thing you’re going to Sussex as the Arts Café hosts the Language Café: a social space to interact with fellow international students weekly, either virtually or in person. Tea and biscuits are also included! 
At the Language Café you will find the support you need and can enjoy hilarious language games and meet new friends. This will keep your spirits up when you’re feeling homesick. 

Enrol in the buddy scheme

You may not be sociable enough to want to join a society or make a place your hangout spot. If this applies to you, there is the Buddy Scheme which is for students of all personalities.  
The Buddy Scheme is an informal peer to peer support system to help students settle into life at Sussex. It matches you to someone with similar personality traits or interests, making it even easier to make a friend. 
They also host weekly virtual and in person events such as mid-week mingles. There is something and someone for everyone at the Buddy Scheme as their only goal is to help grow both old and new friendships – a first-year student’s dream! 

Come to Sussex University with the right mentality 


A post shared by University of Sussex (@sussexuni)
This is probably the most important thing any Sussex first-year student should know, and is the least discussed. By going to Sussex University without the right mentality, you may find it difficult to make friends. 
For instance, coming to the University of Sussex thinking “I already have friends so new friendships are not as important” could make you appear anti-social and standoffish, making it harder to talk to people. Similarly, if your mentality is: “I am not the most extroverted and so I will have no friends”, this might stop you from even leaving your university accommodation.  

If your aim is to make friends, such mentalities may subconsciously hold you back from going to that society, speaking to that person, or attending that social gathering. 
To help, view going to the University of Sussex as a new opportunity where these pessimistic mentalities are left behind. Although easier said than done, try to bear this in mind so you remain open to making friends throughout your days at Sussex.  
The University of Sussex has the Student Life Centre which offers support on a range of issues. Therefore, even if you find incorporating these strategies hard, the Life Centre will be there for you. Making friends a less hectic process. 
I understand that it is quite nerve-racking, yet exciting, coming to Sussex and making friends. I was once in that position.  

I'm confident that if you come with the right mindset, explore some hangout spots, attend at least one society and be a part of the buddy scheme, then you may just surprise yourself and find some great friends! 

This article was originally published in May 2021 .

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