You know that feeling when you walk into the classroom and you get really stressed about where to sit and who you sit next too? Well, with next to 1000 students being in the same classroom as you, the odds of not sitting next to someone are pretty much zero. So don’t worry about ending up sitting alone — even if you want to.

But if you thought that being in a classroom with 1000 students would make it easy making friends, you’re pretty much wrong! (Although, if you’re a social butterfly, why are you reading this post?). Although it may seem like a great opportunity to make friends, chances are that everyone is so completely focused on learning that they kind of keep to themselves. And you being socially awkward, and also gunning for those top grades, will also be focused on the class. So what to do? Well, here are my top tips to making friends (or losing friends, depending on how bad my advice is)! :))

  1. Talk to people

This seems really obvious, but it can honestly be really difficult. Most of my lectures have 8am starts, which means chit chat and socialising at the beginning is probably not going to happen, when everyone is half asleep and wishing they were in bed and watching the lecture recording instead. Yes, lectures are recorded, but please go to your lectures (especially to my dear friends, you know who you are). I realise I’ve made talking to people seem really difficult, but it dosen’t have to be! Here’s a good template to introducing yourself:

Person one: ‘Hi, my name is …. . I study ….. . What do you study?

Person two: ‘Hi, I study ….. . What other papers do you take? (or, Are you from Auckland?)’

Of course, you can always zazz it up a bit, by improvising as well 😉

2. Join some clubs

Clubs are definitely not like high school. I’ve seen really intense clubs at uni as well as really chill ones. A couple of my friends are currently in ‘Glee’ and performing in a showcase, which involves two or three intense rehearsals a week. Some other friends go to book club or something else that’s less intensive. One of the things that really surprised me, was actually how difficult it can be to take part. For example, at school I really enjoyed participating in UN youth events, however I’ve been rejected two times from helping at UN youth events in Auckland which was a bit disheartening. Making the time and effort to go and join clubs is definitely worth it. And don’t be shy. I know it can be a bit intimidating joining in clubs and groups, when it seems like everyone are 2nd and 3rd years and know each other really well , and you’re only a first year. However, don’t let this dishearten you! There are definitely some cool clubs to join, and heaps of niche ones.

3. Go to your tutorials and labs

Going to your tutorials is a really good way to make friends. This can be a bit of a hit and miss sometimes, but I’ve made really good friends from all the group presentations you have (such as POP111 and POP102, so take health sci!). Group presentations aren’t like the ones at high school, which you kind of dread, because everyone wants to get good marks and you all have the commonality of wanting to work in your degree’s field. Some of the closest friends I’ve made this year have been from tutorials, and I’ve made good friends from labs as well. In some labs such as biosci 107 and chem110, you’ll have the same lab partner but in some like medsci 142, you can pick any random seat and hopefully, make a friend. Also, the fact that they could count for as much as 3.5% of your mark certainly dosen’t hurt.

4. Just do stuff

Going to events can be a really great way to make friends as well. One of the best things about being in a hall (and definitely being in uni hall), is the fact that there are heaps of hall events. I do admit that I’ve been a bit slack in going to inter-res events, such as the inter-res basketball, dodgeball, and netball competitions, and other events like the 24hr film inter-res film challenge and inter-res debating competition. However, there are some cool events in halls, such as the hall pool competition, chess tournament and assassins week which are pretty cool as well.

However, at the end of the day, I’m not going to sugar coat things. Making friends is hard. It can be difficult, because you don’t really know what to say and sometimes approaching people can be difficult. But chances are that the other person is going to find it difficult too. So make a leap of faith. Because chances are? You’ll probably one day make friends, who will be there beside you for the rest of your life 🙂

Good luck! ~ Lily

p.s if you find it difficult to make friends during uni, it’s ok! I promise it’ll get better 🙂