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Making friends in First Year

Updated: Aug 20, 2020

Entering first year university is a very intimidating experience. People often emphasize the change in course difficulty when transitioning from high school to university. Although the course transition is important, people often leave out the difficult social transition that happens when starting university. Especially in the new COVID-19 climate making friends is going to be more difficult than ever. I hope in writing this blog post I can provide tips for making friends, as well as the reassurance that you are not stuck with the friends you make in first year, or in the first week if you are unhappy. When you enter first year university some students may be entering with an entire group of friends, where others may be the only one from their school attending your university. Personally, I was the only person I knew going to my university, and it was very intimidating, seeing people with set friend groups in the first week. The online experience may change what this looks like, but it may also make students without a set friend group entering university more isolated. Future in STEM Mentorship, is in part trying to reduce this isolation with future zoom chats, and other group based activities.

There are other ways to start making friends beyond our new program.

Messaging other incoming first years:

I would recommend joining every social media group you can find that relates to your school, incoming year, and/or program. I also think that messaging different students on the platforms is a great idea. In the summer leading up to my first year, I didn’t message anyone on the group pages, and I genuinely regret that. These first pages are made specifically to get new students to interact and create bonds, so don’t be afraid to message someone you think could bond with.

Applying for club positions:

Clubs are a great way to make friends with similar interests. Although many of you will have a complete online experience many clubs are looking for eager first years to join. Something to keep in mind is that clubs want more members, so you don’t need to be shy they want to meet you! As well, messaging clubs on their pages, or applying for different positions will only open up more opportunities to meet new people.

Participating in any school organized online socials:

Although I don’t know how every individual Canadian university is handling their incoming first years, many schools have upperclassmen dedicated to creating a positive first year experience. These upperclassmen, or your university itself, may organize different online socials for your residence, or program. Attending these socials is another way to meet people with similar interests!

All in all, making friends in first year is about meeting as many people as you can, until you find a group you like. It might not happen right away, and your friend group may change during your first year, and subsequent years. I want you to know that this is a completely normal experience, and although this year may be difficult you will find your people! If you have any questions or concerns, we have mentors and other team members at Future in STEM Mentorship who are excited and waiting to talk to you!

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