How to make friends at uni

First-year students Libby and Ethan chat all things friends and social life at uni, from living in halls to starting a society about dogs...

[00:00:00] [Music] [00:00:05] Ethan: Hi! I’m Ethan [00:00:06] Libby: and I’m Libby [00:00:06] Ethan: And we’re first year students at Birmingham City University. [00:00:10] Libby: This is the get ready for uni podcast where we talk about our experiences of first year and also give you guys top tips for starting University [00:00:16] Ethan: and if you're looking for more tips for starting uni you can just visit bcu's free get ready for uni Hub online. You just need to search get ready for uni on the BCU website [00:00:26] Libby: and make sure to follow BCU on all social media platforms. [00:00:30] Ethan: so Libby what are we on about - what are we talking about today? [00:00:31] Libby: So today we're talking about making friends in uni so uh we're going about our experiences if we felt nervous and also giving tips about you know what to do, how to approach people, how to make friends, and how it actually works out. So I thought I would start with our experiences of how we actually made friends so you can go first [00:00:51] Ethan: Okay so um I'd probably say obviously coming to uni I was a bit nervous [00:00:55] Libby: yeah I was definitely nervous [00:00:57] Ethan: Like I feel like it's definitely one of the things that everyone's scared about, but you know everyone just used to say like oh everyone's in the same boat you know, just do this, just do that but I feel like saying that is a lot easier to say than do. So you definitely kind of need to have, even though you've kind of got to have a backbone to what you’re saying, you've also got a be confident in yourself if that makes sense. [00:01:25] Libby: Yeah I get you, like I think um I was really nervous about making friends at Uni because I thought oh if I don't make friends the social side's kind of you know lacking it's mainly just an academic thing but um I feel like with freshers and stuff it was really easy. It was much easier than I thought it would be because as you said everyone is in the same boat, like when we did um we did the meetup at the local the student pub and everyone was just standing there so nervous but then you know my family told me throw yourself out there, the worst they can say is no like oh I don't want to be your friend and it's like well okay. So I remember just being like hi I'm Libby what's your name? what course? where do you live? where are you from? I must have asked a good like 100 people but then now I'm friends with quite a few of them but I know them all and it's like oh hi you know whatever and then um my flatmates are always like how do you know them? and I'm like I threw myself at them during freshers. [00:02:12] Ethan: that's the same with me like you know you still see a few familiar faces but it's like you're not necessarily like friends with them but your friends. [00:02:19] Libby: Yeah your acquaintances, your acquaintances [00:02:20] Ethan: Exactly, definitely [00:02:21] Libby: but I feel like um WhatsApp groups aswell they were really helpful, I mean for my flat I didn't join until 12 hours before I moved in, I was a bit stupid, but I had the main um WhatsApp group for our accommodation so people were texting in that a lot and then I felt like it really helped um to make friends because you're like oh I've already texted this person so they must be nice. You did text people before though didn't you? [00:02:44] Ethan: No, it was actually really weird because I did message quite a few people um found out who my flat was and stuff but then also I found people on my course like you know Emily and Tilly? [00:02:56] Libby: Ohyou followed Emily and Tilly on your course? That's good [00:02:56] Ethan: We had Whatsapp group chats and I did not realize until like we were doing our course and I was like I kind of know you but like I don't know where I'm from and then we clocked that it was from that. So I just felt like you know it's those what type group chats they definitely prep yourself for what you're gonna get yourself into. [00:03:18] and it's good for making friends because people would just be like oh we're in this flat by the way we're just having a little meet up um if anyone wants to come along this is this flat so everyone would just kind of you know you just go, no one's like you're not not invited so it's like well it's just free reign for everything really in the first few of weeks [00:03:30] Ethan: No exactly because I think it was like the group chats were so active for like at least like a good two months. [00:03:35] Libby: Oh yeah. It was like will everyone come to this social, [00:03:38] Ethan: Everyone's making friends like a month and a half in because I remember someone put on the group chat like oh we're doing this and I was like okay I might as well go to that, I don’t know what they’re doing but I’ll do it. [00:03:48] Libby: To be fair, We didn't, we weren't friends for a few weeks until like a week or two into the course. And so of course I didn't realise how close we lived [00:03:52] Ethan: What nice times. [00:03:55] Libby: I know, we’re so cute. But, um, another thing is, while I'm quite close to a couple of my flatmates, like, only only a couple though. I was close with all of them at the start. I feel like it's always kind of worrying to be like, Oh, will I get on with them? Because you think, Oh, I'm going to live with them for a good eight, nine months. I have to get along with them. You don't. [00:04:14] Ethan: Possibly even longer. [00:04:15] Well, yeah, exactly. Even longer, yeah/ [00:04:16] Good for you Libby! I don't really get on with mine. So, coming up to the days before uni, like I say again, the WhatsApp group chats, we were all like, you know, friendly with each other. We had all planned to do something and then it came to actually doing it on the first night. And only one person from my flat showed up! So I was getting ready to go out and, you know, have my drinks and stuff just like, Oh, I see how it is then! So luckily, I did have friends that I had met, like in the lift when I was moving in earlier. [00:04:56] Libby: Yeah. [00:04:57] Ethan: And so I got their like Snapchats and stuff and they invited me. Well, I invited them over to mine and they were like, yeah, sure. [00:05:04] Libby: I remember that actually, because we were like, Oh, are they second years in the other flat? Because they look really set up. Did you, like, set up a whole party or something like that? Because it looked like really well set. We were all sat in our living room. Going, they looked so good, they must be second year. They know how they're doing this. [00:05:17] What do you mean? [00:05:17] Like when we saw your kitchen? Everyone was like they’re second year, we thought you were all second year for ages. We didn't want to, like, talk to any of you. We were so nervous. And then we realised you're all first year. We were like, Oh, hi. But you make friends everywhere, like in, in the uni, like especially, I mean, the flats, the most obvious. You want to get on with them the most, but like obviously one of my best - two of my best friends are my flatmates, which is great, but I feel like we've got, we're different, actually. Ours is our floor. We're more of a floor mates. [00:05:44] Ethan: Yeah. [00:05:44] Libby: Which is really good. But I feel like you wouldn't. You have to worry much about making friends with your flatmates. It's not the end of the world if you don't get on. You just live civilly. As long as long as you like, clean up after yourself and don't get into arguments, you'll be fine. [00:05:58] Ethan: No, definitely. You definitely need to have, like, some etiquette. [00:06:02] Libby: Yeah. [00:06:02] Ethan: When you're living at uni because you don't want to be the person that you know doesn't wash up. You don't want to be the person that leaves the kitchen in a mess that's stinking out the flat or something. So you definitely need to, like, be wary of who your flatmates are. Yeah, if you're lucky and get along with all of them, then it's bonus. Do whatever you want until someone gets annoyed. Other than that, I just say like, you know, if you keep it respectful, you know, just the generic treat others how you like to be treated. [00:06:35] Libby: Ah that’s so cute. But I feel like I'm another thing of that. Like, you make a lot of friends in just the whole broad scheme of uni, obviously I'm part of the rugby society as well, so I've made so many friends from that. And then also through our course we've obviously got our little group there. I feel like throwing yourself out there is probably the best thing to do. Like 100%. My family did tell me, just throw yourself out there. The worst I'm going to say is, no, I don't want to be your friend like that’s literally it. Um, because you have a quite a few friends from different accommodations as well. But everyone, most of our friends are completely different courses too. [00:07:10] Ethan: I've probably got a friend in each accommodation. [00:07:14] Libby: Yeah. [00:07:15] Ethan: So like I'm quite easy to, you know, see around town and stuff. [00:07:21] Libby: That doesn't sound right at all. [00:07:23] [both laughing] [00:07:25] Libby: No, you’re a social butterfly. I thought were both kind of social butterfly. you more than me. But I do more social things in terms of in terms of uni, you're more of a going out social. I'm more of a social groups, you know what I mean? Because obviously from rugby, I didn't know any of them. I was all alone. I was like, Oh my God, I'm like, Go for it. You’ve done rugby before, you really want to do this, so go and do it. And I was like, Okay. [00:07:47] Ethan: Even though you said you were terrible. [00:07:49] Libby: I am terrible at rugby, but it's not, it's not the, you know, skill that counts, even though it is. But um, it's the, it's the social side as well. I think with me I went there all by myself, didn't know anyone, everyone’s all oh hi you know and you realise everyone is just as nervous as you are. And the girls at rugby were, were so welcoming as well. I feel like now that we're going to second year as well, we're going to understand how shy all the first years are like we are going to welcome them as nicely as we got welcomed as well. It's like the other day on, of course, we were out, we met with some third years as well. They were so nice. [00:08:22] Ethan: Oh yeah, because they were all graduating. [00:08:25] Libby: Yeah, it was quite sad. [00:08:26] Ethan: I actually put together the social for that, which is really cool. [00:08:30] Libby: Yeah, you did actually. [00:08:31] Ethan: I just put that together and with these third years that showed up to it and had karaoke and stuff and we… [00:08:39] Libby: We ended up going out. [00:08:40] Ethan: We just like, spoke to them. Like we were confident in ourselves because we were doing karaoke. [00:08:44] Libby: Yeah, you have to be confident don’t you doing karaoke. [00:08:47] Ethan: Yeah and then I remember we were singing and one of the third years turned around and was like, Oh, what are you guys doing? Like. Do you want to come out with us? Like um, sure. [00:08:55] Libby: Uh, definitely. So now we've got some new friends as well, like through our course as well, even though they've left, which is quite sad. But I feel like if we go in there earlier, it would have been much better. [00:09:04] Ethan: But I’ve got their Instagrams as well. [00:09:06] Libby: and their LinkedIn [00:09:07] Ethan: Oh yeah! [00:09:08] Libby: So professional. [00:09:09] So that was quite like a good thing to have. But then again, I also feel like there's other ways to make friends. Like, so instead of like in your course or instead of in a society, you could also just make friends by, say, going out. [00:09:23] Libby: Yeah, exactly. [00:09:25] Ethan: It doesn't matter where you go out, but, you know, it's just like if you see someone that looks, say, a similar age to you. [00:09:31] Libby: Just say hi. [00:09:33] Ethan: Yeah, exactly. [00:09:34] Libby: I feel like. Yeah, especially freshers’ weeks. I mean, there was different wristbands, which was kind of a let-down because then once you've said hello to everyone. You’ve seen everyone. But when you go out and you meet new people and you do say to someone, oh come here before we go out, okay, do that. You've met new people. I feel like going out in the first few weeks or just putting yourself out there is the most important thing to do to make friends at uni. Because even though we've now, you know, got kind of a group of friends, we've kind of adapted and you know, most of us didn't actually meet and freshers, people have met those people through freshers, then they've met us, you know, I mean, so it's really important to actually take advantage of every opportunity you're given to make friends and to socialise at uni because you don't want to be alone. No one wants to be alone at uni. And making friends is really like the most, It's the most staple part. It's so concrete and in the uni experience, I feel like if I didn't have, you Ethan, my little flat wife, if I didn't have you to cook for every day, then what would I be doing? Lying in bed now my course is over, you know? [00:10:34] Ethan: I definitely also see it as in like when it comes to, say, second year living arrangements. [00:10:40] Oh, yeah [00:10:41] Ethan: It makes it a lot easier when you've got like a group of friends. [00:10:43] Libby: A group of friends, yeah. Because I mean, ours took forever because we have, we have enough friends but we don't have enough that wanted to live with us. So that was that was hard. But erm, yeah, I definitely say there's like a good few amount of like tips that we could use to, like, make friends. Definitely be open minded, be confident, because, I mean, everyone's nervous, everyone's nervous. Like, I was petrified to make friends and I thought, well, they're probably more nervous than me, so I've got nothing to lose. I know nobody here. So is like, well, if I embarrass myself, then I embarrass myself, it's not like I know them. And then like, you know, just being out there, just putting yourself into situations that maybe you wouldn't at home. You can try everything once. If it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out. But yeah, I mean, that's that's pretty much all our tips for making friends today. [00:11:33] Ethan: We've actually had some people send their questions in over our social media platforms. So the first one here is, ‘I was planning on living at home for uni, but I don't want to miss out on making friends. Is it possible to still make friends at uni when you commute?’ [00:11:47] Libby: I think it really. this is really a situation of putting yourself out there when you commute because I have quite a few friends who do commute, one of which is from where I'm from. We went to the same school and that, she doesn't go out that much, but she managed to make her friends through her course and stuff like that. We have a friend, Daisy of ours and Lauren and they all live in the Birmingham area and they commute to and from home and to uni because I feel like living at home is, is a much different situation to living in halls because obviously through halls I've met all of you guys and I've met all my friends. And I’m like ah yeah. [00:12:22] Ethan: You have a lot more freedom in halls. [00:12:23] Libby: The people who live with us, they're always so busy. But the people that commute they’re like, yeah, I’ll come along, you know? Okay, great. So, like, I feel like we do that with them a lot more than ever. Like, don’t be afraid to not be invited anywhere. If you put yourself out there in the in the start, you're more likely to be invited again. And if you make the effort, obviously it goes both ways. But if you make the effort as a commuter, you'll be fine. [00:12:43] Ethan: I just feel like with the commuters, it's like they obviously have their personal life. Yeah, like back at home and then they have that uni life. So they've kind of got it all in one because they all the people that they are used to having around. They still have them around. But then they've also got this whole new group. [00:12:59] Ethan: Which kind of brings me to my next thing where it's like, you know what? If someone didn't commute and they were living away like both of us? [00:13:10] Libby: Yeah. [00:13:11] Ethan: And, you know, it's like they've now got kind of that uni life and their personal life. [00:13:16] Libby: Oh, so like a new group of friends? [00:13:18] Ethan: Yeah, exactly. And You know, you’re up in this town, city, village, or wherever you are. [00:13:23] libby: Yeah. [00:13:23] Ethan: Oh wait, it will be a city. Because, you know, unis are always in a city. [00:13:26] [both laugh] [00:13:29] Ethan: And they’ve come to this place and it's a whole new life for them. [00:13:33] Libby: Yeah, well, I actually just went and visited my best friend down in Brighton. So… [00:13:37] Ethan: ooooo [00:13:37] Libby: I know. So I feel like, with my obviously, I have two completely different groups of friends now. I've got you guys and I've got my friends from home. All of my friends of from home, bar like one or two have gone hours and hours away. I couldn't stand to go that far. I've gone to Birmingham, obviously, I’m here at BCU. But, um, you know, I feel like even though it's that far, it's… compared to how we were in school, always together five days a week. You know, 40 odd weeks a year. It was different at the start, you know, everyone being so far away and not be able to see each other all the time. It was like, Oh my God, you feel lost. You feel a bit like, Oh my God, where is everyone gone? But at the same time, you kind of in a little fever dream, like when you're making new friends at uni because obviously university is a whole new experience. Every day you wake up, you get to, you make your own breakfast, you get yourself dressed. Obviously, you’re meant to do that at 18 anyway. But you know, when Mom's home, who's there to make you breakfast? Her. But you know, you doing everything yourself. You're really independent, so you’re kind of not thinking about it for a while. And then after a month or so, once you settled in with your uni friends, you're like, oh, all my friends at home. You've got to kind of balance it. But I feel like if if they're real friends and if you're all that close, you have that real connection. It will be easy. I meet all my friends every few months from home. We went on this brunch a few months ago. It was great and we went out to eat just something simple in our home city. And it was really sweet. And, you know, no one had any hard feelings. Because you know, we’ve all now got new best friends, a new friend groups. But it wasn't like anyone was jealous because everyone was in the same boat. It was like, oh, we've all got new friends. [00:15:08] Ethan: But I do definitely have to say that it's like when you're making friends at uni. I think the process of becoming close is a lot more than just a generic friendship. [00:15:19] Libby: It's proximity, isn't it, really? [00:15:20] Ethan: It definitely is, because it's like, you know, I've got my friend Libby's literally she lives. [00:15:26] Libby: About 20 yards. [00:15:29] Ethan: Yeah, So it's like I.. [00:15:30] Libby: See you all the time. Kind of sick of seeing you, at this point. [00:15:34] Ethan: Oh all right then! [both laugh] Um, but so it's definitely like just because you have so much freedom and you're so close to all your friends, like, actually, but like, actually close in terms of distance. It just gives you a lot more things that you can do, like… [00:15:50] Libby: I mean, your experiencing life together as well, you’re experiencing this rare, well not very rare when most people do it, but it is this unique experience that you're doing together and you're by yourself. So obviously you're going to click closer than that. [00:16:03] Ethan: That is really smart yeah. [00:16:03] Libby: Yeah, it is. I know I'm just so smart. [both laugh] But also then, like your friends at home, they've done the same thing with their friends. Like when I went down to see my best friend that she got back last night, it was like, you see these friends you made and like it makes you happy, you know? Oh, you know, I'm so glad that you've made friends. You've done this because obviously they're much farther away than we are. And the experiences, the different lifestyles where you’re living, it's so different. But you can tell you're like, well, she's made good friends because if she gets along with them, I'll get along with them. It's all good. And also mixing friends as well. Mixing home and uni. I brought her down to see well, she came to see me, but obviously we mixed and we went out bowling, didn't we? And, you know, I'm hoping you like her. [00:16:43] Ethan: Yeah. She was really lovelyt [00:16:43] Libby: She loves you. She thinks you're great. [00:16:45] Ethan: Oh, that's amazing. [00:16:46] Libby: But that's the good thing as well. Making friends at uni, also if you have trouble doing that. You have a friends that have their friends, and even though it's the worst thing, if you have no friends, you can still find a way to make connections. There is another question though. How to find a society to join? I read that one. Um… [00:17:08] Ethan: Make one. [00:17:09] Libby: Make one. You want talk about the society that you've made? [00:17:13] Ethan: Erm, yeah, I will give a talk. [00:17:15] Libby: Go on, give it a whizz. [00:17:16] Ethan: So we decided to create a society based around our dog. [00:17:22] Libby: Your dog? [00:17:24] Ethan: Well, my dog. Erm, that’s find of the story really. [00:17:27] Libby: Ethan… [00:17:27] Ethan: We just find it funny really. [00:17:27] Libby: Ethan worships the ground on which his dog walks. Everything is Pepper Sleuth this, Pepper Sleuth that. So obviously it wouldn't be Pepper Sleuth without a society. [both laugh] So I'm the treasurer? [00:17:40] Ethan: Yeah [00:17:41] Libby: I'm the treasurer for the society. So if anyone wants to donate to the Pepper Sleuth society, it's a good cause. Come join us on [00:17:45] Ethan: She’s the money. [00:17:46] Libby: I’m the money [both laugh] But on a serious note, I feel like societies are a really good way of making friends. [00:17:51] Ethan: And there’s societies for everything. [00:17:53] Libby: There is a society for everything, you can make your own. If you have to two or more people, you can make a society. [00:17:58] Ethan: It's like, and then there's also sorts of societies that can like, fit in with your course. Because there’s a guy on our course he's in the Radio Society. We do media. So it's like, you know, we also do radio but then out of lesson he… [00:18:13] Libby: Does that as well to adapt his skills. [00:18:15] Yeah [00:18:16] There's so many sports ones, they're kind of the main ones so I'd say society wise because they do really big, I don't really go out to the moment because I’m a bit too lazy, but I I'll start going to them. We do big societies where it's like mainly for charities and stuff, so we'll do, say the cheer squad will do a social at this club and we’ll go to that or the boys rugby are doing this, the women's rugby are doing this. You know, it's like and it's quite fun as well because it's really like, um, we go out and do themes so but are oh, let's do red flags, Oh let's do toga night toga nights. Toga night is amazing. It's so good. Or. We'll go to pub golf, we'll do something like that. So it's really, it's really good for making friends and also you merge with other societies then because with sports, obviously they're all connected. Yeah, you don't, you know, you're never going to meet these people. I'm friends with a bunch of second and third years now who do completely different courses to me. But through the society we've now become really good friends. [00:19:07] Ethan: Something you can bond over. [00:19:09] Libby: Yeah. And there's other societies like the K-pop society, there's like business societies. What else is there? Like there's neurodivergent societies as well. So for people who are like personally, like similar, you know, that's a pretty good one. Yeah. [00:19:23] Ethan: There's a lot of inclusive societies I’d say. [00:19:25] Libby: Yeah, there’s the LGBTQ, uni boob. That's a good one. And if there is a… because we went to the freshest fair at the start. [00:19:32] Ethan: Yeah. [00:19:32] Libby: They said if there's a society that you'd love to be part of but it hasn't been made yet, you you have every right to make it, you know. So it's, it's a really inclusive way of making friends and it's also like a separate life to uni. I feel I have uni, I have my uni friends and I have rugby as well, so it's like a different… it's just something to do. And you know, you get excited to go see your friends every week, we go travel the country, playing games together and we go out and it's just like it's a different type of friendship than what you've made, you know, because obviously you're with each other for so long each week. It's just. It's just a nice way of making friends really. [00:20:08] Ethan: Mm hmm. [00:20:08] Libby: But, yeah. Any other questions that you'd like to cover or do you think we're all done? [00:20:13] Ethan: I mean, I think that's kind of it, isn’t it? [00:20:16] Libby: Yeah, I’d say. [00:20:17] Ethan: But if you do have any questions, you can go on to the social media of BCU and send your questions and that. Which we will then cover and next week's podcast. [00:20:27] Libby: Yep. And if you want any practical guides or tips and tricks on anything to do with the uni life, head over to our website and it'll all be out there for you. [00:20:34] Ethan: Lovely. [00:20:35] Libby: Goodbye! [Music]