By Sophie Downes, Second Year, English
The Croft Magazine // Freshers' Week often holds a pressure to immediately find your new friends at university; yet for many, this process can take a longer time. Sophie Downes offers her advice for first years who haven't yet found their close friends.
It dawned on me very early in my Freshers’ week that no one ever discussed loneliness in relation to university. It seemed that the two could not be related in any way. I was told that University was where I’d meet some of my forever friends, and was promised some of the best few years of my life.
But what happens if you don’t meet your kind of people immediately?
Initially, I found university very daunting. Being placed with a group of strangers, in a new environment and hours away from your family and friends at home, can feel very isolating. If you don’t immediately get on with your flatmates, you might worry that those life-long friends you’ve heard so much about, might actually never materialise.
Likewise, in a generation where everything is put on social media, it’s very easy to adopt the incorrect belief that everyone else is not only loving university, but has already found a group of their best friends.
This year, with the added restrictions of 10pm curfews, groups of 6 and constant reminders to socially distance, it may seem harder than ever to meet new people. So, what can be done? Below is a list of tips that helped me during my Freshers’ week, as well as ways to work around Covid-19 and meet new people.
One. Mindset. Remind yourself that you won’t be the only person struggling with loneliness. Try to ignore the people who are parading their amazing first few weeks on social media; Instagram and Snapchat will never show you the entire story.
Try to ignore the people who are parading their amazing first term on social media
Two. Societies are your best friend. They are a great way of making friends with like-minded people. Whilst the ban on indoor sports means not all societies will be running this year, there are still a vast amount of societies to get involved in. Why not try something you’ve never done before?
Three. Think of creative ways to go out. Whilst the closure of clubs ensures a different start to first year than in previous years, there is still room for activities and nights out – albeit in smaller groups. So, whether it’s pub quizzes, movie nights or coffee dates to name a few, use your imagination to prompt some fun nights with different groups of people.
Four. Go to your lectures. Another impact of clubs closing and a 10pm curfew means there are no excuses to miss any face-to-face teaching (aside from isolating or having corona, in which case please stay inside). Those few hours a week might be where you meet a course mate and hopefully, a friend for life.
Five. Be brave! You don’t know who is having the same feelings as you. So, message the person you met a few days ago and see if they want to meet. Put a message on the course group chat – or any of the vast selection of freshers Facebook groups – and see if anyone would be down for doing something. Whilst it is scary to put yourself out there, you never know what you might gain from it.
Six. Be kind to yourself. University can feel scary and it’s okay to not have everything sorted out straight away. In the meantime, embrace the uncertainty of Freshers’ and the awkward small talk that governs the first few weeks of term. Adopt a long-term approach; things will get better. You've got this.
Featured image: Epigram / Rosie Angel-Clark