Finding your people and making friends at university

By Lyea Rivers, March 2024

Before starting university, I heard that university is where I would find lifelong friends and had received lots of advice on making friends. Like many people, I had a unique path to making friends at university especially as an introvert.

The 'LU' Lancaster University logo sign

Get to know your flatmates

I first made friends in my flat in Pendle College. A few of us met on moving day and got to know each other with a friendly “hello” and asking each other about courses, home countries, language(s) spoken, travel journeys to the university (alone or with family), etc. We created a schedule for weekly cleanups of the kitchen, created a group chat for the flat and posted our birthdays on the wall. One of my flat mates invited me to go out to celebrate my birthday during the first month at university and we enjoyed a meal together. This was a kind gesture that is still treasured. Flat mates have also introduced me to other friends and to the societies they were a part of which was also appreciated to help settle in.

A sign that reads 'Welcome Pendle Freshers'

Lectures and workshops

During my lectures and workshops, I have also made friends through discussing coursework, our thoughts and opinions on what we learned, upcoming deadlines, etc. We also added each other on social media, got to know each other’s elective modules, the colleges and societies we are a part of, our home countries, previous studies, career plans, future study plans, etc. There are so many possibilities and I have learned along the way to be open-minded.

Student Lyea sat with three of her classmates in the Management School, West Pavilion.

Friends through training courses

I made friends through attending various training courses online and in-person. One of the training courses where I made the most friends was through learning entrepreneurial skills and competencies in the Entrepreneur Academy by the Work In Progress unit on campus! We talked about our courses, career and study paths, topics we were learning, etc. in addition to brainstorming, discussing and completing tasks together! It was a lovely experience to share together!

Joining a society

Enactus Society

I made a few friends through joining the Enactus society. We discussed challenges in the world today like sustainability and brainstormed project ideas. We traveled to London and together we presented our project idea in a project incubator and networked with employers and other students. It was an enjoyable learning experience for us all to do together. I also travelled to Scotland for a leadership and project management training by Enactus and EY where I made friends with students from other universities. There are so many opportunities to meet new people and become friends!

An Instagram Post with Student Lyea and four students holding and Enactus UK Award 2023.

Diving Society

By joining the diving society, I made friends to learn diving with and I found friends who are in my course and in other societies I wanted to join. We attended the re-freshers’ fair together to help advertise the society and upcoming training events. We take turns responding to emails and social media queries. We do inventory checks together and attend meetings together in addition to learning to dive together. It has been an amazing friendship and learning experience! We developed our leadership and teamwork skills as exec members in addition to learning to dive through the society together.

Student Lyea underwater scuba diving.

Archery Society

I also made friends in the archery society, and we discussed our different courses, accommodation, future study and career paths, etc. in addition to learning a cool sport together. We went through the learning process together, made our mistakes together and celebrated our wins together! We held each other accountable and checked in with each other. It’s an amazing experience to meet people from different paths and become friends!

Hiking Society

The hiking society is another amazing society where I made friends learning navigation and going on hikes together. Getting through difficult terrain and weather taught us all leadership, teamwork and risk management skills and were amazing bonding experiences!

Student Lyea with other students standing by a snowman.

Part-time jobs and volunteering

I also made friends through part-time jobs and volunteering, e.g. working with Green Lancaster. I met many people who were studying the same course or a similar course in addition to people who shared similar interests and passions on sustainability and the environment. We worked hard and had fun together!

Student Lyea and other students standing together with planting equipment.

Career Fairs

I made friends through a Capital connections trip to London and Manchester organized by the Grow Your Future careers team. We visited the Environmental Agency, Deloitte, Omnicon Health Group and others! We got to network and learn about the organisations, and different career paths and ask questions! It was a lovely experience walking around and commuting through London together to get to the various offices. We got to know each other through asking questions on courses, career and study paths, etc. One of the friends I made on this trip met up again in a culture exchange program by coincidence and we got to make even more memories together!

Student Lyea standing with a group of students and staff.

Culture Exchange Program

I made so many new friends by attending the culture exchange program to Malaysia! I now have friends from the UK and Malaysia in addition to gaining employability skills. We travelled through airports together. We travelled in various buses and cars together. We shared accommodation and ate meals together. We learned together and from each other in the program. We discussed, brainstormed and presented our work together. It was an amazing, shared experience!

A framed photo of those who attended the Cultural Exchange program to Malaysia.

There are so many opportunities to make friends even if you are introverted at university. There will be opportunities in your accommodation, lectures, societies, workshops, career fairs, study abroad programs, part-time work, volunteering, etc. Having similar interests, being yourself and being open-minded are three tips I'd give to making friends at uni.