The best tips for making friends during the start of studies

By Maja Georgine Gulliksen 26. Mar 2023

New city, new dorm, brand new on campus and in addition are you going to make new friends?! Puh. Here is master's student Maja's best advice on how to get to know people during the start of your studies.

There is a lot to get acquainted with during the start of studies. The idea of making friends in a whole new environment can feel overwhelming and stressful. Not only do you need to get familiar with your campus, a new city, and a new school system; you also need to find out who you are now, as a student, and who are to be “your people” during your time at university.

The first few weeks are over before you know it, so to make the process a bit less daunting, I have gathered some tips to help you get to know people during the start of studies. 

In short, here is Maja's best advice for how to get to know people at the start of your studies:

  • Say hi to people, show interest, say yes to all invitations!

  • Be the one who takes the initiative, invite people with you to events organized by, for example, TimeOut, the student community or a student association.

  • Get to know those you live with whether you live in a collective or student housing! Participate in creating a good living environment by inviting people to gather. Feel free to use your welfare host if you live in student housing!

  • Get to know the area and your place of study. Bring people with you!

  • Create a colloquium group!

  • Be open, dare to show uncertainty / that you are not a world champion.

  • If you do not meet your people immediately - do not give up, just be a little patient :)

Say yes! 

Whenever I asked fellow students about their top tips for getting to know people at university, almost all of them answered “say yes – to everything!”. Having a positive outlook and a friendly demeanour will make a big difference. It is important to remember that most people around you are in the same situation as you. Many do not know anyone and feel alone. Remember to say hi to those around you, and say yes to invitations. It could be something simple, like having lunch together after a lecture, or joining an activity in the evening. 

It is a good idea to be conscious about showing interest in those you meet. Where are they from? What sorts of interests do they have? Why did they choose the study field they are in? It is okay to prepare some questions in advance, if starting a conversation feels strange or difficult. However, you will probably realise quite soon that it is not – after all, most of the people you meet want to get to know you as well. 

Blond girl smiling, Haspa

Take initiative 

The buddy week is planned and organised to make getting to know new people, and the area on and around campus, easier. But in the following weeks, you are much more on your own, and it is common to feel a bit unsure. Now it is important that you yourself take initiative, invite, and include. 

The Sørøst-calendar makes it easy to keep track of events arranged on campus as well as online. You could invite someone you met during the buddy week to some of these, or go by yourself and meet someone new. TimeOut works with planning and arranging activities and events throughout the semester for all USN students. Additionally, there are plenty of student organisations, clubs, and sports teams to engage with on USN. These types of arrangements make it easier to get to know students from different fields of study. 

If you live in student accommodation from SSN, or share a flat or house with other students, you have a good opportunity to make friends with those you share residency with. Things like movie nights, board game tournaments, and having meals together can implement socialising as a habit. Remember that moving can be a big transition for many, so it is important to respect each other’s space and needs. Read SSN's tips for you who are new to student housing.

Gaming night

Get to know the people you are living with. What about inviting them to a gaming night?!

Explore your environment as well as academics 

One of the most exciting aspects of becoming a student might be moving to a completely new place. Spending time getting to know your new environment is a good investment for your entire stay at university. Not least a good opportunity to invite fellow students out exploring. If you are already familiar with the city, invite someone out to your favourite places. Or maybe there is some place you have been wanting to go, but just have not got around to doing? 

Academics are something you and your fellow students are bound to have in common. Forming a study group can be a good way of getting in touch with more people, and creates an academic support system throughout the semester. If you do not want to take this initiative yourself, OLA is a good alternative offered by USN, providing weekly study meetings which are both academic and social. 

Be open 

A lot happens during the first few weeks at university, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Being open with your fellow students about things you are unsure of, or questions you find yourself having along the way, can be a good way of establishing contact. Firstly, because there are bound to be more people who have the same questions, but also because it helps create a more relaxed atmosphere overall. 

And, it is in no way, shape, or form, “game over” if you do not really click with anyone during the buddy week. In fact, that is entirely normal. A lot of students find their best friends later in the semester, or even later in their course. Additionally, not everyone attends the buddy week, so there is a good chance you will meet even more new people during your first lecture. 

Good luck finding new friends!

Check out the app MOT (in Norwegian) - it might help you overcome social insecurity and to much self-awareness.

Maja Georgine Gulliksen

Master student in European languages, UiO

Maja Georgine Gulliksen has her Bachelor in Language and literature from the University of South-Eastern Norway, campus Vestfold. She has worked as a student mentor and learning facilitator at USN, and content creator in TimeOut for SSN. Maja has just started her master’s degree in European language at the University of Oslo.