We all have that dream. You show up to your host tour on your first day of uni and become best friends with the other person who’s also late. You find solace in the person sitting next to you in your Power tutorial. You meet the coolest person who you immediately click with on that o-camp. The dream of meeting your next best friend as soon as you start uni is one that we’ve all had, but it’s not always a reality.
And that’s okay.
Here’s some secrets.
I don’t remember anyone from my host tour.
I left my orientation camp only sort of knowing a handful of people.
I didn’t get coffee with anyone I didn’t know already in my first semester.
I made my best friends after my first semester of university.
Not everyone is going to make friends the second they step foot onto campus. But there are always things that you can do to boost your confidence and ensure that you’re not going through uni by yourself.
Clubs and Societies
Think of a hobby or interest you have. Chances are there’s a club for this and they will most likely have a Facebook page where you can learn about their upcoming events. By participating in clubs events you can find people with similar interests. Even more, if the club has recurring BBQs or picnics, this is the perfect opportunity to help a society out and cook a snag. Going to events and offering a hand means that people will see you more often, you’ll develop familiarity and potential friendships! For a list of the clubs, click here.
You’re almost guaranteed to add a lot of people on Facebook or follow them on Instagram and Snapchat. I’m not saying the more people you add the more likely you are to make close knit friendships, but it means you’ll develop a circle of people you do know. If you’ve just added someone on Facebook, don’t be shy about sending them a message! It might not feel like it, but they’re probably just as keen and just as scared about contacting you as you are about them.
And even if you don’t talk to them straight away, you might find yourself in a class with them in second semester, and having already met them, you might be more inclined to talk to them again.
If you identify as a woman/non-binary or member of the queer community, there are spaces in Union House where you can go and relax. Decked out with couches and goodies and amazing student representatives, the Women’s Room can be found on Level 1 (straight ahead when you come up the stairs and then to the right) and the Queer Space on Level 3 (turn right when you get out of the elevator). You’ll also be able to find support and information in these rooms on various issues if you need it.
UMSU, the University of Melbourne Student Union, also has other departments and services available . Want to help out at BBQs and parties? Have a look at Activities. If you’re looking for more communities of likeminded students, check out People of Colour, Indigenous, Disabilities. All these, plus more, can be found here.
Getting involved in things that aren’t clubs can also be a really good way of meeting new people at uni. Write something for Farrago and visit them in the Media Space (level 4 Union House), attend some PASS sessions if you’re an Arts Student and keen to smash out those H1s, and even pitch us an article if you think there’s something we should be writing about! The more you participate, the more people you’re going to know.
It can be a difficult time if you’re not finding people to connect with immediately, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Taking time for yourself is really important. It can sometimes become very stressful at uni without a strong support network so I highly recommend looking at the Unimelb Services website for a place to seek out some help.
For me it took a lot longer than it felt like it took for other people. Eventually it was actually in tutorials where I ended up with the same people from first and second year that I found some of my friends. Participating heavily in societies like Ring of Choir also helped a lot.
Everyone moves at different speeds. If you don’t make friends in your first few weeks of uni, it’s nothing to be ashamed about. In fact, it’s more common than you would think. In your first semester you might be a jaffy with few friends, but by third year you might have found the best group possible. Just keep doing, and dreaming.