Uni 101: How to Make a Friend in 10 Days

Starting university can be a daunting experience. Your VP Wellbeing and Diversity, Nisha Bundhun has some top tips and advice on how to meet new people and settle into life at university.

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Starting university can be a really exciting time to try new things, meet new people, and learn about a subject you’re passionate about. However, it can also be a daunting experience and can sometimes leave students feeling lonely and isolated. Loneliness is often connected to the feeling of belonging so building a community in which you feel you belong can help to tackle feelings of loneliness.  

We want to support you in feeling like you belong at Royal Holloway, that’s why we’re organising events and offering services that help you to make new friends and build a community at university. 

To start this process, here are a few things already in place to help you settle in at Royal Holloway.

Meet & Mingle  

This year, we have a selection of Meet & Mingle events that are specifically designed to help you build your community at Royal Holloway. There are a variety of events including the Academic Communities Picnic where you can meet students from your department, Mid-Week Mingle with all the Sabbatical Officers, Parents & Carers Student Coffee Morning, a Movie Night for foundation year students and a whole lot more! Check out the events calendar for all the event info! 

The Buddy Scheme 

If you’re nervous about attending an event or a student group taster session alone, why not take part in The Buddy Scheme? All you need to do is fill out this form by Thursday 14 September, select which events you would like to attend, and we’ll be in touch to pair you with a fellow Royal Holloway student interested in attending the same events as you! 

Peer Guide Scheme 

The University also runs a Peer Guide scheme for undergraduate students which you are automatically enrolled in unless you decide to opt-out. You’ll be paired up with a returning student who will reach out to arrange a catch-up where you can ask questions, find out more about Royal Holloway, and receive support in navigating your first four weeks of term. Before the start of term, you’ll be informed of who your peer guide is, but if you’re not sure head up to Founder's Square over move-in weekend to the Peer Guide stand and to find out who your peer guide is.

Hall Life 

Hall Life is a team of fellow students who have all lived in halls before to assist students with any questions or concerns they may have about living in halls. If you’re feeling nervous, need some help now you’re living independently, or looking for advice on homesickness or accessing specialist services, Hall Life team is on hand to help. They’ll be stopping by all halls kitchens to introduce themselves from w/c 25 September, and you can also meet them on Founder's Square over move-in weekend. They also run evening drop-ins from 7pm-9pm over at the Visitor Centre in Founder's from Monday to Friday.  

Student Communities 

This year, we are also introducing a new way to meet people - Student Communities. Each community is led by a Community Officer, an elected student leader responsible for campaigning for the rights of students that define into the relevant group. They will coordinate activities and events for members of the community to meet one another. There are seven Inclusion Communities: Women, LGBT+, Disabled, Black & Global Majority, International, Students of Faith and Mature, Parent & Carer Students. There are also three Academic Communities: Postgraduate Research students, Postgraduate Taught students, and Commuting students. Keep an eye out for more information on how to get involved with your Student Community. 

Student Group Taster Sessions 

As well as our Student Communities, we also have 140+ student groups who run a variety of different activities meaning there is something for everyone to get involved in. From Insanity Radio, our student-led radio station, to Ballroom & Latin Dance Sport and Pokémon to Pole & Aerial Fitness and Ninjutsu – there is so much for you to try! They all host taster sessions over the first few weeks of term, to give an opportunity to get to know them a bit more and see if you want to join their group for the year. Student groups are a fantastic way of making new friends and experiencing new things! You can also meet all of them at Freshers’ Fair down at the Sports Centre on Tuesday 19 September.  

Advice Centre 

Based on the first floor of the Students’ Union, our team of Advisors are on hand to support students with a range of issues, big and small, and free from judgement. They are independent from the University and specialise in academic and housing advice. However, they can also give advice on anything relating to your university journey and are able to help you in navigating University services. During Freshers’ Festival, they will be hosting daily drop-ins, so if you’re feeling unsure about anything and would like to get some advice then please come along.

So, as you can see, we offer a lot of events and support to try and help you settle into campus life! Try to come along to some and get as involved as possible to help you meet new people and settle into university life. Coming to university and going to big events can be scary but remember that everyone is in the same boat and there is a lot of support around to help you, so good luck and have fun!