2 min read

From course mates to lifelong pals | How to make friends at uni

From course mates to lifelong pals | How to make friends at uni

by Susie Woods

Every coming-of-age film depicts the strong friendships you make at university. But are you still struggling to find your #squad? Feeling more alone than ever in an era when everyone is supposedly connected?

It’s not always easy to make new comrades. Here Media, Communication and Cultural Studies student Ari, shares some of the best ways she's found to make friends on campus.

1. Engage with student societies




Joining a society is one of the best ways to make friends since you know you have at least one thing in common with everybody else. There are societies to suit everyone’s interests – ranging from baking to Pokémon to fashion. Or maybe you’re more into feminism, mental health, or creative writing?

You can also join societies based on courses of study, nationalities, faith groups, or political views if you want to find like-minded people. If you have enough people to join, you can even create your own society!

For example, in 2019 I was involved in marketing efforts for North East Malaysian Night (Malaysian Society) and was a volunteer photographer for a TEDx Newcastle University Conference and that definitely helped me expand my circle of friends.


2. Get involved in student activities




There’s never a dull moment at NUSU as there is always something going on - social campaigns, student media, volunteering opportunities, day trips, sports clubs and gigs.

There are also tonnes of activities organised by specific faculties/schools or service departments if you do your research – such as e-mail announcements from the University, having a look at posters on campus, browsing through the University’s website, going to fairs, or simply asking around.

Personally, I had fun with my existing friends and making new ones through Give It a Go activities such as going to the top of Grey’s Monument and making bath bombs!

It’s entirely up to you how involved in student activities you want to be, but this can be a fantastic way to meet people! Hopefully, you’ll get yourself a gang to go on adventures with - just like Harry, Ron and Hermione.


3. Connect with the people who are already around you!




It is essential that you establish strong bonds with the people that already surround you on a daily basis. Yes, I’m talking about people on your course and your flatmates! For example, my housemate and I often spontaneously karaoke to Disney and Barbie songs in her room at least once every few weeks.

You’re going to be spending a lot of time with them anyway, so these are the friendships worth investing in. Make the effort to get to know your course buddies outside of lecture halls – you might find out you're both into the same bands or movies! Schedule regular Netflix nights or baking sessions in your accommodation, and you might end up having super deep conversations afterwards.


However, the most important thing is staying in touch!




When you find people you connect with, do not let them go! Ask them out for coffee, go on a fun trip exploring the North East, or just send them memes like any good buddy would. If things go well, you’ll practically have your own F.R.I.E.N.D.S-like sitcom by the end of the semester.  


Need extra help in making friends?

If you haven’t found your tribe yet, don’t worry, it’ll happen soon enough. I struggled with fitting in when I first arrived in the United Kingdom all the way from Malaysia! Read more about My journey to Newcastle and how I overcame the challenges I faced.

If you’ve tried the above tips multiple times but still cannot seem to find a bunch of good companions, you’re not alone. Please don’t suffer in isolation – the University has many initiatives to help with your wellbeing, including counselling, a Listening Ear scheme and a mobile app.