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College. The beautiful six letter word. So many of us worked our backsides off in school just to get into our desired course. Most of us hold a highly romanticised version of the entire university experience. That it is the place where you have the freedom to be whoever you want. Or that it is where you will finally meet the Ross to your Chandler and create life-long relationships. I believe this is harder said than done, especially if you attend a large university like me. However, there are tricks of the trade which can be used.
From my college experience, I have compiled seven tips which will help you find ‘your people’’ in college:
In a new environment, familiarity can be comforting. Although new bonds are made, a lot of people gravitate towards their school friends. In fact, I think it is easier to get on with older friends as you are already aware of each other’s’ personalities and you more than likely have things to talk about. I have seen many people who were simply acquaintances in school end up becoming best friends in third level.
In most cases, housemates. Don’t be afraid to go over and talk to them. You’re going to be living with them for at least a year so it’s best to be friendly from day one. Try and get to know them. A lot of people in college refer to their housemates as their second family. This should come as no surprise considering the amount of time which is spent together. Also if you become good friends with your housemates, they will introduce you to their friends which will lead to you having a bigger social circle.
Individuals with similar interests such as the people in your course. This is obviously a bit different depending on the size of the course. I find it a bit easier to make friends in smaller courses as you are around the same 20 to 30 people most of the time. Even if you are in big courses such as Engineering just try and speak to the person sitting next to you in the lecture hall. Talk about your course and then the conversation will naturally turn more casual.
Attend social events. These may seem a bit lame and not that entertaining but it is actually a good way to meet new people and perhaps bond with those whom you just met. My housemates and I went to one of our Student Village social events in the first week. As there were already 5 we didn’t talk to the other people but we got to know each other a little bit better. Plus there was free food. We loved the free food.
Realistically speaking, neighbours are the most convenient people to be friends with. They are geographically the closest and you don’t even have to make a plan if you want to see them. Just knock on their door and walk into their house. So make an effort to be friends with your neighbours and honestly chances are that you’ll have some connection with at least two or three of them.
Slide into their DM’s. As in don’t be afraid to text first. This may seem a bit stupid but honestly just text your new friend and ask if they want to go for food or something. It’s all about taking the first step and spending time together. Especially with people whom you would not otherwise see in your day to day routine.
Societies as in clubs and societies. This is one which I would definitely encourage. They are a great way of expanding your social circle. Also you may be organising events with new people or going for trips. Such experiences create memories and long-lasting relationships. If you’re thinking about joining a sports club, your team can also become like a family to you.
By Zoha Khan
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