An open letter to freshers: have faith in making friends

Sofia Chiscop gives advice to freshers on making friends at university.

Sofia Chiscop
21st October 2020
Starting university can be equally exciting and intimidating. Both international and home students face the same fear… meeting new people. Will you fit in? Will you find your group? How will you cope with so many new faces?

First of all, take a deep breath. I know how stressful this can be. Believe it or not, I was more stressed about making friends than I was about the workload. And then I went to my first lecture, and I realised that unlike in high school, it’s impossible to befriend everyone in your “class”. As grim as this may sound, it was a liberating moment for me as I let go of the pressure I had put on myself prior to that moment. 

Still, it may sound like a cliché, but we really were or are in the same boat. And the constant pressure to have “the unforgettable uni experience” or the university friendship stories that your parents can’t stop retelling only make the situation more stressful. 

"Your people are out there, and you will find them in the most unexpected situations."

As I said, it’s important to remember that everyone is going through the same things and that no one has it all figured it out (although their Instagram stories may tell you otherwise). That being said, putting pressure on yourself to “find your tribe” can only do harm. Your people are out there, and you will find them in the most unexpected situations. For instance, I met one of my best friends at the dog café and this wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been for my lack of punctuality - good things can come out of bad habits, apparently.

"Good things really do come to you when you don’t force them."

On the same note, contrary to what you have heard, you don’t necessarily need to befriend people that are on your course. Sure, it helps when you are freaking out about deadlines but that’s not all there is to friendship and you know it. Good things really do come to you when you don’t force them. So, focus on yourself and your passions. Join a society, a sports club or take part in the activities organised virtually by NUSU. People will come and people will go and the ones that matter will stay in your life.

I know that considering the chaos that the current situation is, making friends seems even more daunting. However, if we look for the silver-lining, connecting to people is more important than ever right now and the bonds that will be formed during this year of uni (let’s be honest, you are going through a pandemic together) will be a lot of things but not shallow. 

Image: Sofia Chiscop

Appreciate the beginning of a friendship, all those cringe moments when you get to know each other, the first bonding moments. “Falling” into a friendship is kind of like falling in love: one moment you are going through that awkward stage, next thing you know you are inseparable.  

I am sure that everything will work out and you will find your people. The ones that will hold your hand when you are freaking out, who will carry you home at the end of the nights that you don’t remember, who will make you laugh when you don’t even feel like moving.

Featured Image: Sofia Chiscop

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