How to make friends at uni
Kelly: Welcome back to Spring 2020. We’re back with Season 2 of UTS Student Hacks! With Kelly-
Rachel: And Rachel!
Kelly: A new semester comes with new subjects and probably with people you have never met. So, how can we make friends especially when most classes are still online?
Rachel: I remember finding it really hard to make friends at university. See, by moving to a new environment I constantly felt self-conscious about starting conversations with other students. UTS has also a lot more people than what I was used to and maybe that’s why the mere thought of making friends sounded so daunting. Was it scary for you as well Kelly?
Kelly: Yeah, I actually came into uni knowing no one who did the same degree as me. It really made me feel alone, especially in times when I needed help with tutorial work or someone to give me lecture notes when I couldn’t make a lecture. I have one distinct memory of a tutor making us share our numbers and emails in our small table. This really helped push me to make friends just within our small table.
Kelly: You need to remember that you do not need to make friends with everyone, start small and just enjoy the ride. This change from knowing everyone in high school to knowing no one in uni really had a large impact on my overall first year experience. Did you get to talk to anyone from your classes Rachel?
Rachel: I would be lying if I said that it was easy for me to talk to other students in my massive lecture halls or classes, and maybe that’s why it took me nearly a year to make friends. During my second year I actually started making friends. How so you might think? I took the initiative to get involved: I signed up to the United Nations Society and even started volunteering around campus.
Kelly: I also took the initiative of signing myself up to societies, namely the Law Student Society. From there I signed up to competitions where I met friends who had the same goal of gaining experience and just having fun. Through this, I embedded myself into the Law Society by attending events and now joining the Student Wellbeing Committee.
Kelly: An unlikely place to make friends is at U:PASS sessions. As the students in those sessions are likely to be doing the same degree as you and want to do well in that subject, it is a great starting point to make friends especially as it is with a smaller group of students. As a current U:PASS leader, I see friendships being made every semester that last. So I highly recommend going to U:PASS sessions not only to learn but to make friends.
Rachel: I would recommend getting involved at uni too! When I started going to society events, I was naturally able to mingle with a bunch of people from different faculties. Only after did I realise that uni is not as scary as I thought it would be, and that most of the students if not all struggled at some point to make uni friends. This realisation helped me make peace with myself and took away the pressure of ‘making a friend now or else’ and allowed me to pace myself and form friendships naturally.
Rachel: Kelly and I have shared our experiences and you may have noticed that societies have played a big role in helping us make friends!
Kelly: And since classes are still online, it may be even more difficult for you to make friends in tutorials and lectures. What can you do? You guessed it! The next best avenue to make friends is joining a society, whether it is a faculty society or a special interest society, it is entirely up to you.
Rachel: We spoke to two society execs and asked for their top tips in making friends at uni. Meet Miki and Caster!
Miki: My name is Miki Fan, I’m in Anime@UTS and my position is events coordinator.
Caster: My name’s Caster and I’m from the Business Society at UTS and I’m currently the President for this year.
Rachel: And just in case you’re not familiar with these societies here’s a bit of background for you.
Rachel: Anime@UTS is a society where members can celebrate a shared love for anime, cosplay and drawing.
Kelly: Now a little brief about the Business Society. It is a faculty-based society that not only provides fun events to make friends but also helps build your professional network and skills.
Kelly: Before they became execs, Miki and Caster had similar experiences in not understanding the value of joining a society until they took the first step and joined.
Miki: Joining a society and making friends as a whole has changed me a lot as a person, because I remember back when I was a first year, I was really nervous and anxious about joining a new society because I was very introverted as well, I kind of needed that push.
Caster: It meant that I could make new friends, I went to high school in the Shire, so it was an hour trip into the city, and no-one from my high school or my grade went to UTS, so it was an opportunity for me to make friends with people that weren’t from the Shire, people from the West, North, the East, so it was a really great opportunity for me to extend my social network.
Rachel: Before starting anything, don’t feel peer pressured into doing activities you do not want to do.
Miki: Another tip I have is taking things at your own pace, everybody has their own steps and pace of socialising and opening up to make friends. Don’t get peer pressured to do stuff, you shouldn’t feel peer pressured ‘oh I need to do that’ or ‘I need to be very sociable’ or make people like me.
Kelly: But once you feel confident, keep it simple and just say ‘hi’ and see where it takes you.
Caster: I’ve said hi to a lot of friends in my tutorials and we’re best friends ever since. And that’s all the way back in 2017 when I first started my degree and it’s been almost 3-4 years since then and we’re all closer than ever before, so I think sometimes you just have to say hi and see where it takes you’.
Rachel: At the end of the day, YOU are the one that needs to take the initiative to join a society amd attend the events. Only from there will you meet people and make friends.
Miki: Joining a society is always a great start, but you yourself have to make an effort to make friends as well. I feel like making friends, it’s not like they just come to you but you personally have to make an effort as well and take the initiative to start making friends as well, by being engaging and open.
Kelly: Not sure which society to join? Join your faculty society.
Caster: I think the obvious tip is joining a society, you’re definitely going to make a lot of friends when you join a society, especially a society that’s a faculty society that you’re studying from, or whether that’s a special interest society whether it be J-Pop or K-Pop or the food society or the dog society, you’re going to find an interest that other people share your interest with.
Kelly: Remember, it is never too late or too early to join a UTS club or society at any point of your uni experience.
Caster: Yes it might be a little weird with a third year interacting with a first year, but I think at the end of the day you’re all uni students, you’re all going to be friends, you all do the same subjects. It probably is a bit harder for current students because they’ve been here for such a long time, and they probably think ‘oh societies are useless’ or that’s why they didn’t get involved in their first year, but I think it’s the same concept, just say hi. I think it comes down to, if you have the ability yourself say hi and make that first move.
Rachel: To recap: making friends, especially in our current circumstances, isn’t easy. Try making friends within your tutorial groups and U:PASS sessions. Alternatively, join a society and attend their events. Lastly, just say ‘hi’ and see where it can take you.
Kelly: Thanks so much for sticking to the end of this episode. I hope these tips from us and the societies are able to help you make friends. Remember, you do not need to make friends with everyone, start small and just enjoy the ride.
Kelly and Rachel: See y’all next episode! Until then, stay connected and social distance.
UTS Clubs and Societies mentioned in this episode:
- UTS Business Society
- Law Student Society
- United Nations Society
- Student Wellbeing Committee
Written and Presented by Kelly Ding & Rachel Khalef
Produced and Edited by Liv Day
Music: Spark of Inspiration – https://www.silvermansound.com/