Being pushed into an environment where you almost don’t know anyone can be a terrifying experience that thousands of freshman students go through every year. This year’s newbies are facing an even bigger challenge and it will no doubt be scary how to make friends in this bizarre situation. As if moving away from home and being mixed up with total strangers wasn’t enough, now it is no longer so easy to mingle with online lectures, social distancing, and limited social activities.
Here are some lessons and tips I’ve learned from my own experience that may be helpful for those looking to make friends during the Covid-19 pandemic:
Meeting with the roommates
Introducing yourself early and making a connection can help you settle in to your new environment faster. Even if you are initially unsure if they are people you get along with, it is important that you make an effort to get to know them. You don’t want to stay with them later when you get into a different situation and have to imagine living together for four months.
Initial introductions to getting conversations with your roommates rolling could include:
- Have you been to [insert city or town] In front?
- Have you already looked at companies?
- I like yours [insert compliment]
- Would you like a cup of tea / coffee?
- Would you like to explore the area? / Go to the city?
Just in case you really get stuck, there’s always the standard: what’s your name ?; Where are you from?; What do you study?; What level did you do?
Some people absolutely click with their roommates and others don’t connect at all. If you don’t feel like you’ve found “your people”, don’t worry! There are still ways to meet with more newbies:
|@mytherapistsays / Via instagram.com|
The best advice I had about studying was to attend as much as possible. Each university has hundreds of companies that will connect you with people with similar interests and different ages and levels in their degrees.
If you’re too anxious to jump right in, you can send an email and ask a question. That way, when you meet everyone, you already have someone to introduce yourself to. Find the person you emailed and ask, “Hello, right? [their name]? ’. They can then introduce you to everyone else.
This introduction would work the same way even if your company met remotely.
For most subjects, online lectures will be the norm for the foreseeable future. Seminars
* Fingers crossed * are more likely to be face to face and in smaller groups. This is ideal for anyone who is concerned about larger groups of people.
You can get closer to these people easily if you discuss different topics during the semester. However, it’s also important to build friendships early on. If you introduce yourself right away, you will a). feel more comfortable in an academic environment b). I don’t feel like you left it too long to say something for Christmas that isn’t themed (something I was to blame for in more than one module).
Questions to start a conversation with students could be:
- How have you found freshmen so far this year?
- Which companies did you look at?
- Do you think we’re actually just trapped in one black mirror episode?
|New Line Cinema / ommanyte.tumblr.com / Via BuzzFeed Health|
My sweet secret weapon
I found it a lot harder to make friends than I thought. There was something very uncomfortable about being the one recording a conversation with someone while everyone else waited in silence outside our classroom.
My solution: carry a packet of sweets.
Nothing breaks the ice better than a “shhh … do you want a minstrel?”.
I’ve tried this theory and most of the time it gets at least a smile and most of all a lifelong friendship. So I met a friend of mine with whom I traditionally go on vacation three years later.
Things to remember
- If you’ve asked for someone’s name and told you about it, remember to say, “Nice to meet you,” or something similar afterward. Don’t let them answer you and then follow in silence!
- You won’t be the only one feeling anxious and this is an unprecedented situation. So don’t be ashamed of your shyness!
- Making friends with fear is never easy, but extra efforts to build connections can really improve your university experience. Fake it until you can!
Do it all!