Building Meaningful Connections at University

Linnéa Brenden

Embarking on your university journey is not just about academic pursuits; it's also about forming new friendships and becoming part of the community.

As a psychologist, I understand the importance of these social connections for a fulfilling university experience. Embracing the Friendship Journey It's completely normal if you don't instantly connect with new friends.

While some students might fortuitously meet great friends in classes, dorms, or during commutes, it's more common to need a bit of extra effort. Remember, you're not alone in this experience. Most of your peers are also looking to make new connections, and they're likely to welcome a conversation or an invitation to a social event.

Proactive Strategies to Meet New People Taking a structured approach to meeting people can empower you. It helps you feel in control of your social life and simultaneously assists others in their quest for friendships.

Leverage Everyday Interactions:
Consider the places you'll be regularly, like classrooms, common areas, or student accommodations. These settings provide natural opportunities for interaction. Simple gestures, such as suggesting a coffee after class or setting up a study group, can be the stepping stones to deeper connections.

Building on Initial Conversations:
When you have a class discussion or a casual chat, think about how you might extend these interactions. Suggest meeting outside of class or joining others for a meal. It's these small initiatives that transform acquaintances into friends.

Exploring University Social Opportunities:
Don’t limit yourself to spontaneous interactions. Most universities offer a plethora of social opportunities, particularly at the beginning of the academic year. Check out your university’s and student union's websites for clubs, societies, volunteering opportunities, and online forums. These organized activities provide a structured way to meet people with similar interests.

Online Social Engagements:
Some universities have online platforms where you can connect with other students even before the academic year starts. These forums can be an excellent way to start building your social network.

Remember, the process of making new friends at university is a journey, not a race. Every interaction, whether it leads to a lasting friendship or not, is a step towards understanding yourself and others better. Be open to different experiences, take the initiative, and most importantly, be patient with yourself and the process.

Building a community takes time, but the connections you make will enrich your university experience significantly.

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