Preparing for University and Making Friends

Starting university can make you feel unsure but this year in particular poses many unusual situations. Some of the common socialisation and typical ‘fresher’ options may not be available or may be adjusted and you may even feel anxious about moving in with new people and curious about how you’ll bond with new flatmates and friends.

Below I’ve included some of my favourite tips, pieces of advice and tricks to settling into university and making friends in the hopes that they can help you feel prepared and excited for the year to come.

Top tip: Try to remember that everyone is in the same boat (so to speak!) and will likely be feeling similar to how you are feeling. So, try not to worry an excessive amount and keep an open mind as to what this year may look like.

Virtual activities

Get involved! The university will be hosting over 150 online Welcome Week activities which you can join as an individual or do with your flat. There’ll be something for everyone so make sure you keep an eye out!

Societies and sports groups

Societies and sports groups are already taking pre-registrations so check out all of the options over at to see if there’s any that intrigue you. Both of these are fantastic ways to meet likeminded individuals and partake in a variety of hobbies, activities etc. If you aren’t sure what to join or you’re nervous about joining then that’s okay, many societies will be hosting taster sessions over welcome week which will allow you to try the society before committing to a membership.

Open door policy

One of the best things you can take with you to halls is a doorstop. Why? Well picture this, imagine you’re walking down the hallway in your new flat. First you walk past a door which is closed and then you walk past a door which is held open meaning you can see your new flatmate inside, unpacking. Which would make you more likely to stop and introduce yourself? I’d bet you’d be more likely to say ‘hi’ to the person with a doorstop, right? Exactly! Having an open-door policy when you first move in encourages conversation and friendliness in your flat, making it much easier to strike up a conversation.

Bonding activities

A large part of making friends is simply making the effort. Try suggesting a games night where you could play games such as ‘Would You Rather’, ‘Cards Against Humanity’ or even ‘Monopoly’. You could even use an app on your phone such as ‘Heads Up!’ or ‘Evil Apples’ or use a simple pack of playing cards. This can help break the ice as you automatically have something to discuss.

Another way you could bond is through a themed flat night such as a movie night or a night where you all cook together. Personally, I like to cook pizzas, pastas and fajitas together as a flat or order a takeaway.

Top tip: If you order a takeaway make sure to take advantage of your student status by using one of the many student discounts available!

And finally… Don’t be a stranger!

Just because you’ve moved away to university, doesn’t mean you’re going through it alone. Your family and friends would probably love to share a video call to discuss what you’ve been getting up to and take a virtual peak into your new flat! This will remind you that those people are only a phone call away and easily accessible if needed.

I hope some of these ideas can be of some help to you as you start university as they definitely helped me.

Good luck!


Written by #HallamInsider Rhianne Saunders