Sometimes, the scariest thing about university is just trying to make friends! As I mentioned in my last post, I moved from Vancouver to Toronto without knowing a single person. Now, I’ve made lots of great friends in this city. But, it wasn’t always easy, and along the way, I’ve learned lots of lessons and helpful tips.
Set yourself up well.
If you’re moving to university for the first time, it helps to be in a situation where making friends is easy. If you’re living in residence, you get to live with people, share unique experiences with them, and see them every day. That means that friendships are super easy to form.
But, if you’re not in residence, don’t worry. In first year university, I actually made the majority of my friends in my Vic One program. One programs are offered by colleges and put you in small seminar classes with the same people all year long. I highly recommend taking these programs for the social aspects— I made some of my best friends in my Vic One program, and I feel close to everyone in my One program.
If you aren’t doing a One program, consider taking a first year seminar class, or really engage with other people in your tutorials. These small class environments are super great for bonding with fellow students.
Engage with people.
The good thing about university is that the majority of people are looking for friends. Even in upper years, I’ve found almost everyone is super receptive to forming new friendships.
Because of this, sitting down and talking to new people will get you far. I’ve found that talking about deeper issues or personal experiences, rather than surface topics like school or the weather, is a lot more effective for building meaningful relationships. Making plans to hang out with someone after you talk to them is also a great way to get closer.
Focus on your own interests.
Ironically, I actually think the biggest trick to making friends is focusing on yourself. Getting involved in what you think is interesting naturally creates friendships. In my first and second years of university, I got involved in a lot of clubs and activist organizations. Because of this, I got to meet people who were interested in the same things as I was, which made it way easier to become friends with them.
I also became a more interesting and well-rounded person myself. That meant that when I did talk to someone else, I had lots to share with them and came across as passionate and interesting. This is great for making someone want to become friends with you!
No matter how daunting it is, know that you will make friends at university. For more tips, check out this recent FB live on starting strong at UofT. Good luck, and have fun!