By Leanne Haywood a current MSc Psychological Wellbeing and Mental Health NTU student and Student Mental Health Champion
Hello everyone, I’m currently studying my masters at NTU and I also completed my undergraduate degree at NTU. I wanted to write this blog to share some tips on how to make friends whilst at university and some of the opportunities you can take part in to help socialise and make friends when you start.
- Get involved
Make sure you take advantage of every opportunity you can. Try to take part in any extra curricular activities that might be going on as part of your course for example talks or seminars as well as any social events or group events that may be happening. This will really help you to socialise with people that have the same interests as you, specifically people on your course who you’re likely to see often.
Especially during freshers week and at the start of university life there will be a lot of opportunities to socialise and make friends and it’s important to understand that everybody will be in the same position. The majority of people will be moving away from their home towns into a new city and everything will be new and exciting but very very different. This is a great time to make new friends and support each other and help each other adjust to this new way of living whilst at university. If you are living in shared accommodation with other students in your flat it may be a good idea to host a movie night or a group event where you socialise together to really help you get to know your flatmates better, after all your flatmates will be the people that you see the most often if you are living in a shared flat. If not there is also many opportunities to socialise through activities held through the University and the NTSU so I strongly recommend getting involved in those.
- Join clubs or societies
There are many NTU sports teams and And various societies you can get involved in and be a part of and this can really help you to make friends and meet people who have similar interests to yourself. There is something for everybody to get involved in with a variety of interests. You can even set up your own society if there is something specifically that you would like to start up, this can be a really great way to socialise and help to get a work life balance and some time to enjoy yourself away from studying. It’s also a great way to meet new people and have new experiences and maybe even try something out of your comfort zone.
Volunteering looks amazing on your CV it can help you to build really useful experience that you can use after university when you’re starting to look into work and careers. It is also a great way to meet new people and make friends with people who have interests in similar things to yourselves and are volunteering at the same place as you. During my time on my Masters course I volunteered as a student mental health champion through NTU, this gave me great opportunities to meet new people, make friends and support each other through various activities. I found it was also a great support network of people to look out for each other’s wellbeing and mental health and share this with other students at the University.
- Be open
My final tip is to just be open. Be open to trying new experiences, talking to new people and maybe doing something that is a little bit out of your comfort zone will really help you to make friends at university. Always remember to be yourself don’t try and be somebody that you’re not – you’ll make friends and everybody will be feeling a little bit anxious and nervous at the start of university. Try not to be worried that you’re not going to make any friends whilst at university and if you feel comfortable, maybe try to strike up conversation with peers on your course. Great conversation starters could be around shared interests, how people have been finding moving into university and how they found the welcome activities. If you try to strike up a conversation with people on your course you can often find that you actually share a lot of common interests and this can really help you to build friendships and support networks. Making friends at university is really a lot easier than you may be worrying about or nervous about, and it’s great to try and put yourself out there to make friends because support networks are so important at university. This is especially true in terms of wellbeing and mental health, having people that you can talk to and trust is really important.
Also remember if you are feeling worried or anxious about university or you feel like you don’t have anybody you can talk to and you feel you need support with your wellbeing, you can reach out to NTU’s Student Support Services who will be able to help you. So don’t suffer in silence if you are getting anxious and worried when at university, there is support out there and people that will help.
I hope these tips have been helpful for you and I hope they help you to make friends at university. Just remember everybody is probably feeling anxious about making friends at university and it’s a lot easier than you may be thinking. All of your peers on your course share a common interest in that they have chosen to do that specific course so you already have that in common with your peers which will help when making friends. So just take a deep breath and try to relax, have a great time at university and go make some friends!
For more helpful tips take a look at Student Minds resources on starting university.
For help, advice and resources whilst studying at NTU, take a look at the following for sources of support.
- Support from NTU
- Self-Care books in NTU’s libraries
- Silvercloud: SilverCloud is our online system designed to help with a range of mental health issues.
- Health and Wellbeing resources
- NTSU Information and Advice service
- Wellness in Mind: Advice and support for anyone in Nottingham experiencing issues with their mental wellbeing
- Student Minds or Student Space
- 10 Keys to happiness