You’ve been sold the dream: you’ll move into halls or your student house and immediately bond with the girl in the room next to yours, or the boy across the corridor. You’ll all be one big happy family away from home, cooking brunch and spring cleaning periodically together.
But for some, this dream might not become a reality.
And that’s okay. Here’s why there’s no need to work yourself up or convince yourself you’re going to be alone just because you don’t gel with the people you share a kitchen with. It’s all cool.
Accept they’re just not ‘your people’
It’s okay! Not absolutely everyone is going to like you – just like you don’t like absolutely everyone.
Be nice, sure – you’re going to have to live with them, after all – but don’t stress trying to convince them you’re awesome. Just be yourself and if they don’t like it then it’s their loss, and know, with an open mind, a friendly attitude and a smile, you will find people who do.
Try the flat below or house next door
Okay, so you’ve established you don’t exactly get along with the people you’re living closest to but remember, unless you are living in a detached house in the middle of nowhere (in which case, where on Earth is your university?!), you’re likely to have a flat opposite you, or a floor above and/or below, perhaps a house next door or even across the road.
Go say hi! Stick a note through the letterbox introducing yourself and inviting people over for a drink or dinner at a local restaurant. You could even be (not-so-) bold and knock on the door. You might be surprised to find everyone is just as keen as you are to make friends.
One graduate even told Study International she met her best friends by pretending to be locked out of her flat, hiding her keys in her back pocket, so she had an excuse to talk to the girls on the ground floor when she realised the people in her flat weren’t for her.
Might have been easier to knock and introduce herself but, hey, it worked!
Join a society
This is often donned as the solution to a great number of your university woes but that’s because it’s tried, tested and pretty darn likely to work.
If you’re feeling a little lonely or like you haven’t connected with anyone in your accommodation, joining a society can be a great way to find new people on your wavelength. From the get-go you have something in common – you both love chess or rugby or photography or whatever club it is you’ve joined – so there’s your starting point for conversation.
Get involved outside university
Have a look at what clubs and events are going on in and around your university city. Joining a Wednesday evening badminton club or signing up to volunteer at a local food festival once a month will not only make you feel pretty good but will also open up opportunities for meeting new people.
You will be able to get out of the university bubble and meet locals to the city, rewarding you with a whole new pool of people to mingle with in a fun and useful experience.
Chat with people on your course
Don’t forget that one place you’re likely to be almost as much as your accommodation is at the university itself. So, speak to people in your lectures – no doubt you’re with them every day.
It’ll be great to have someone to joke with around university, someone to sit with, someone to revise with or copy notes off when you accidentally sleep through your 9AM (oops!).
Next lecture you’re in, suggest you go and grab a drink or a bite to eat after that Tuesday afternoon lecture draws to a close with a few people on your course. You might end up with half the lecture theatre joining you or just the one new pal, but either way, you’ll be glad you asked.
Consider getting a job…
…If you can. If you are studying in a country that allows you to work on your student visa then you could consider getting a part-time job.
This is a wonderful way to meet new people and you’ll likely bond over the awful uniform, or the Saturday morning struggles of heading into work, or the free food in the breakroom or the brilliance of payday. Work friends have a special kind of bond!
Ultimately, there are hundreds of ways to meet people at university and while housemates are the first port of call for many to find their BFFs, it’s definitely not the be all and end all if you don’t click with the people you’re living with.
It’s only for a year anyway and by next year you’re bound to have found some awesome friends to see out the rest of your time at university with.
Lastly, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to make friends. It will happen, just be friendly and patient and don’t try and make everyone like you – it will be exhausting and counterproductive.
Now, get out there and get mingling!