5 Easy Ways to Make Friends in Your First Year

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photo credit to Thunder The-Mascot

University is a whole new chapter in life. You’ll meet different people, you’ll learn from a broader perspective, and you’ll experience things you never thought you’d do otherwise.

First year is a change, and change is scary. One of the things I was most worried about when I started was making friends. I didn’t know a soul on campus, no one from my high school came here, so the idea of starting over somewhere new was equal parts exhilarating and terrifying. Here are 5 simple ways to meet people and make friends.

1. Live in residence.

Seriously. If you’re coming from out of town, and you have the opportunity to live in res, do it! It’s the best way to meet people you would never meet otherwise. Plus, you live together, so chances are your res neighbours will become some of your best friends.

2. Join a club or a sports team.

This one is easy! UVic has more than two hundred clubs, sports teams, advocacy groups, etc, so you’re bound to find like-minded people who you can meet and hang out with regularly.

And if sports aren’t your cup of tea, or your biggest interest isn’t represented in the existing clubs, you can create your own and start a niche community for others with similar interests.

3. Talk to whoever you sit next to in class on the first day.

This one is awkward and a little scary. But it’s also such a relief. Many classes involve group work and peer review, so it’s good to establish a go-to person for that early on. But let’s be honest, classes are much more enjoyable when you have a friend to sit next to, to share funny prof moments with and to cram with last minute before a midterm.

4. Go to a party or social event on campus.

Even if you’re not one for a party, I’d suggest trying it out in the first few weeks. Gather together some neighbors from res, plan to meet up with that girl that sits next to you in English and go be social!

Even if you’re socially awkward (I can relate) it could still end up being tons of fun, or at the very least get you out of your room for a bit. There’s always a party or sporting event going on, so there’s something for everyone.

5. Just say yes. (Within reason.)

Starting university is the perfect time to try things you never thought you’d otherwise try. Say yes to opportunities that come your way, even if you don’t think it’s your thing. Obviously if something makes you really uncomfortable you don’t have to do it, but if you’re willing to step outside your comfort zone a little then who knows who you’ll get to meet!

Try that food you’ve always been scared to try, join an intramural sport you’re unfamiliar with, or take a class you never thought you’d be interested in.

Bonus: Don’t lose touch with your friends and family back home.

If you leave home for school, it can be pretty easy to feel isolated from the people you care about back home. While starting a new chapter in your life is a good time to re-evaluate which people positively contribute to your life and which ones don’t, it’s also a crucial time to choose whether or not your relationship with them is worth holding on to or not.

Chances are, your close friends are going to warrant late night video chats and week-long snapstreaks, so don’t feel embarrassed to hold onto your support system back home. If you miss them when you leave, it’s pretty likely they’re worth holding onto. Also, don’t feel bad about not missing someone or losing touch. Everyone’s doing their own thing and sometimes it’s natural to drift apart.

Finally, call your parents every once and awhile beyond the frequent “How much detergent is too much?” and “When is leftover pizza too old to eat?” They’ll be happy to hear from you, and you’ll probably feel better after talking to them.

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