The struggles with making new friends in a new city
Moving away from home and heading to University is such an exciting opportunity for a young adult. You plan how you’re going to decorate your room. You make lists of all the things you have to take. You try to cram most of your wardrobe into one of your old holiday suitcases, with the airport check-in label still haphazardly attached to the handle. But when it actually comes to unpacking all the boxes and making yourself dinner for the first time, that excitement can quickly wear off, only to be replaced by nerves.
It’s important to remember that although you're in an unfamiliar city, you will still have people around you. People who are feeling exactly the same as you. A big part of University is getting to live with new people, and your housemates inevitably become the first ones you interact with. From deciding which shelf in the fridge is yours, to using someone else’s ketchup because you’ve squeezed the last remaining drop out of yours, your housemates are a close source to rely on. They might be the ones that you will explore your new city with and begin meeting new people wherever you go, but they may not go on to be your core group of friends. So how do you go about finding the people you want to spend the next few years with?
At most Universities, tutor groups are your first meet and greet sessions. It’s natural to roll your eyes at the thought of going to sit in a cramped classroom, listening to yet another ‘make the most of your time here’. However, your tutor group can pair you with people on the same course, which is a great opportunity to connect with someone completely new. Someone away from your housemates that you can have fun with and see on a regular basis. Whatever your University throws at you to do, make sure you attend, because you never know who you’ll meet.
You may have been to them as a child: eating candy floss and spinning round on the dodgems or avoiding the scary ghost train. But now you’ve grown up, the fairs have grown up too.
Universities love a fair. Freshers fairs, careers fairs, societies fairs. These places are great to learn about what your University offers, find out where the nearest supermarket is, and have a laugh with strangers who will soon become friends. After being given too many leaflets to carry, maybe some free pizza if you’re lucky and a few silly introductory activities, you can easily gain a new friend to go to the Student Union with for a quick drink after your first lecture. Although fairs might feel awkward to attend, you never know who you’ll meet, what activity you’ll learn about or what memories you’ll make.
University is a place where discovering new things about yourself and delving into your interests is as commonplace as having pesto pasta for dinner. If you like writing science fiction, drawing anime, or your passion is to become captain of the rugby team, the simplest way is to join a society.
Societies are a great way to get to know others who share similar interests to you. This tight knit community can give you a sense of belonging in a place where you might feel a little bit lost. Depending on the society, you could also have the opportunity to go on outings around the city you're in. You could watch a show in the centre or play a game of tennis on different grounds, which all leads to exploring your new town with society friends. These people can also then introduce you to a new circle of friends that they might live or study with: the best thing about University is everyone is in the same boat, and no one will think it’s strange to introduce yourself to someone new.
It’s hard to know where the best hotspots are when moving to a new city, you’re only just beginning to find your bearings so how will you find all the best places to visit? Where to get your post-night out chips or the best place for a quiet coffee with your latest lecture notes? However, it’s nothing that a bit of asking around can’t solve.
Asking your lecturers, the years above you, even popping a message in the University Facebook group, will give you some indication as to where the city hotspots are. It could be the local green, the cheapest student bar, or the quirkiest coffee shop, whatever place gets suggested, go and visit it. Take a housemate, friend or just yourself, because in a city full of students you’re bound to find someone that you either know or are about to get to know.
Finding exciting, yet cheap activities to do isn’t the easiest of tasks. But with Linkup you can connect with others that are trying to find the same things as you, by downloading the app and meeting people spontaneously. Give it a try and it might make the University experience just that little bit easier.
Or if you’re making the move to Manchester, check out our blog on the top things to do in the infamous Second City (though we think it's the best).