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How do I go about fitting in?

Read this article containing tips for new students on socialising without burning out.
A young man in a woollen hat peeps shyly over a wall.
© University of York

A common concern for new students is whether they will fit in and meet like-minded people when they move away to university. If this is a feeling that strikes a chord with you then rest assured, you will not be short of opportunities to meet people from all walks of life, with a huge range of hobbies, experiences, attitudes and perspectives!

You might be keen to meet people with similar outlooks and interests to you but you will be just as likely to find people with completely different life experiences that you really gel with; that’s the beauty of university!

There are so many different ways to meet people at university. Some may require you to push yourself out of your comfort zone a little but if you’re feeling a bit shy then there is nothing to fear.

Some of the ways you might get to know people and immerse yourself in university life include:

Meeting your flatmates

As we said in the previous step, if you are moving away to university and will be living in halls of residence this is a sure-fire way of meeting people from the moment you arrive. You’ll have heard advice from our students about how they settled in and got to know people in their accommodation, bonding over cups of tea and shared meals with the support of second and third-year students to help break the ice. You might also find that some of your flatmates set up a group chat prior to arriving at university so you can get to know each other before you arrive.

Welcome talks

There will be a whole range of welcome talks to attend ranging from university-wide talks to smaller sessions for your halls of residence, colleges, or even for particular groups of students such as local and commuting students, or mature students. These are a great way not only to meet people with similar experiences to you but also to find out about any support networks available to you.

Your course mates

Your department will let you know of any course-specific introductory sessions they may run. These are designed to help you get to know your department including the facilities, academic and support staff but also to meet your fellow first-years and provide a brilliant opportunity to help you settle in academically and socially.

Clubs and societies

Your Students’ Union will be home to an overwhelming range of sports clubs and societies for you to join. Freshers’ Fair (a day of stalls and events held in the first week of your first term, before classes start) is usually the best way to find out more about what’s on offer and how to sign up.

You’ll find more information about Freshers’ Week, clubs and societies later on in this course.

Simply chatting to people!

You might find that you meet your firmest friends purely by chance, in a queue, at a bar, over a coffee or in the library! Be open to all opportunities to chat with new people, you never know where it might lead!

If all of these suggestions sound a bit daunting here are some key things to remember:

  • Everyone is in the same boat, very few people come away to university knowing lots of people already.
  • Be brave! You might not feel like being sociable all the time and that is absolutely fine but resist the temptation to stay in your room.
  • Be yourself.
  • Be open-minded.
  • You don’t have to remain firm friends with everyone you meet (and would probably find this quite a challenge); over time some friendships will grow and others may fade, that’s ok!
  • Give yourself time, don’t put pressure on yourself to have the greatest time and make best friends on day 1, week 1 or even month 1!
  • Relax and enjoy yourself.
  • Keep in touch with family and friends at home, they will be able to support and reassure you when you need it and share your excitement and new experiences with you too.
© University of York
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