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How to make friends when you’re new to university

James Davis

Careers Commentator
It can be unnerving going from high school (where you know everybody) to university (where you know nobody). Luckily, we’ve got you covered.

Friends make life all that much better. Doesn’t matter what you’re doing or where you’re doing it, any experience is better when you share it.

University is no different, but it’s also huge. The campus is likely to be far bigger than your high school, with tens of thousands of students enrolled during any given year. Some of the biggest like Monash University have over 78,000 students at any given time; others like ANU have 5,000 students out of 25,500 living on campus. It can feel like you’re alone in a crowd at times, but there are a few things proactive students can do to fix that.

Make good use of open days and orientation weeks

A lot of students either don’t attend these events or skip out on all the tours, perhaps sticking with one or two friends they know from high school before heading home. This isn’t the best use of time at these events. Instead, take those tours. It’s not only a great way to learn about your new campus, but meet some new people. Even if you know the university like the back of your hand, it’s a good excuse to just go for a walk with some new people.

Join student associations

This is easily one of the best ways to make some fast friends. Not only do you meet a lot of people, but you’re in amongst a group that’s interested in the same things you are. If you want to get ahead in business, there’s bound to be at least one business society on campus that’ll organise networking events, line up guest speakers and have you rubbing elbows with the best of them. If you’re into gaming, every university’s going to have a gaming society complete with consoles, computers and semester tournaments. You into footy? There’s going to be a footy team; I guarantee it. Soccer teams? Field hockey clubs? Those too. You can even learn martial arts like Judo or Taekwondo, or join a physics society to meet abstract thinkers. No matter what you’re into, there’s bound to be a student association. If not, you’re free to make it happen yourself. You’ll be making friends either way.

Pay attention to university Facebook groups

You’ll more than likely encounter your university’s student-run Facebook group at some point. They’ll keep you posted on upcoming events on campus, like barbeques, special lectures, deals, pub crawls and more. These are all opportunities to experience more of campus life and meet people from across disciplines. It’s very easy to only associate with people within your faculty when you’re new, so getting out of your comfort zone like this can only do you good.