8 Ways to Make New Friends at University

If it’s your first time living on your own away from family, you might find university a bit daunting. Meeting new people and making friends can be difficult, especially if you’re not outgoing by nature. Here are some things you can do to start breaking out of your shell.

Hang around the campus.

Many students have long periods of free time in between classes. Use this time to stick around the hallways and classrooms and talk to your classmates. In this informal and relaxed setting, you can invite people for casual get-togethers, like a shared cup of coffee, to get to know them better.

Put yourself out there.

Make a commitment to talk to at least one or two new people each day. If things aren’t busy, you can study in a coffee shop or student union, and engage a fellow student in conversation. Don’t be afraid to start a conversation, even if it feels uncomfortable at first. Get out of your comfort zone by saying yes to invitations.

Join a study group.

In the midst of making new friends, don’t forget the real reason why you’re here: to earn that precious degree. Your grades should always come first, and friendships should not get in the way of achieving that.

You’ll be achieving two goals at once when you join a study group: You get to study and at the same time establish a support system that could lead to long-lasting friendships.

Be a member of a club.

One guaranteed way to make friends is to meet people who have the same interests as you. Finding a common ground through shared hobbies will make the small talk easy-flowing. Or, you can do the opposite and join a club to try something new for the first time and meet people that have totally different hobbies.

Most universities have a club for everything: academic clubs, theatre clubs, and recreational clubs. You can join a sports club if you have an active lifestyle, or a reading club if you’re a bookworm.

Attend campus events.

College could be your best opportunity to meet people from a wide spectrum of educational and cultural backgrounds, so be sure to get out of your student residence. Ottawa universities like the University of Ottawa and Carleton University sponsor a lot of campus events, which are great ways to meet new people. You can attend football games, lectures, and art shows, among other gatherings.

Volunteer your time.

To give back while making friends, volunteer your time to the student newspaper or campus radio, or maybe even join an organization or charity that supports a good cause. In doing so, you’ll get to meet people that have the same values as you.

Go off-campus.

Explore Ottawa on foot. You can visit a coffee shop, the public library, or the local mall. You’ll broaden your horizons by getting to know people outside of the campus bubble.

Set reasonable expectations.

Like any other social relationships, friendships don’t happen overnight. It’s something that we develop with other people over time. So, make an effort to build and nurture these budding relationships by showing up and spending quality time together.

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