In part one, we had a look at what you should expect on the academic side of fresher’s week. Introductions, some basic reading/homework to do, and probably a sketch of what you’re going to be doing over the course of the year. You might be going something you’ve never done before, especially if it’s a practical course, so you’ll be starting with the very basics! Be patient with yourself and don’t worry if you don’t understand everything you learn. Plenty of time to ask questions later.
Although it may be scary and daunting at first, definitely go to some of the social events run by the university/college. You may not know anybody, but chances are most people don’t either, and are looking to meet people in the same situation (such as yourself)! If you’ve just started university and you live on campus, ask yourself what else you would be doing instead – would you be sat in your room alone whilst everyone was out having fun? Lots of us feel nervous about social situations in new places, but it might be worse if you keep putting it off, and by that time everybody may already have formed friendship groups. Socials can range from anything to informal chats and meetups, trips to local leisure facilities, or even nights out, so there should be something for everyone!
But, although there are lots of pre-arranged events, some of the most important socials are totally random and spontaneous. If someone suggests going somewhere, or doing something later on in the day, say yes if you’re around! You never know who you might meet, and you might have a lot of fun. Even if it’s just going to the local fish and chip shop for lunch, it’s nice to meet people to hang out with.
It’s totally understandable if you find making friends difficult, and you’re not very extroverted. “Putting yourself out there” can be one of the most difficult things around. If you can’t put on a confident face, maybe an after-school art or music club might have other introverts. At uni, you’ll find lots of societies that are based on books and reading, so that’s also an option. Don’t worry if you don’t feel confident enough to be friends with everybody – you don’t have to be.
If you are good at meeting people, you still might find it difficult to start a real conversation (other than about the weather, of course)! There are lots of things you can do to get to know someone better. If you’re in a big group, playing a game of cards, Jenga or Pictionary are a fantastic way to get to know each other. But, you might also have a different problem, where you meet someone you later find out you don’t actually like. Usually you will naturally drift apart, but some people can be a bit clingy. Don’t blame them – some people react better than others to new, scary situations. Instead, tell them gently that you need a bit of time to yourself, and they’ll eventually get the hint.
Hopefully you know a bit more about what to expect now, so maybe it won’t seem so scary. Remember that you will always have your old school friends, and try your best to keep in contact with them too, as they can be an amazing source of stability and comfort! You might need it in a turbulent, changing period in your life like this one.
Image credit: http://www.surrey.ac.uk/welcome/