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How to Make Friends in Your First Year At University

August 24, 2023

I just finished my first year of university and the change shocked me. The biggest challenge I faced was making new friends, especially after being accustomed to the familiarity of high school, where I knew everyone in my grade. But it's not all bad, with larger class sizes comes the opportunity to make new friends. 

Don't even entertain the thought of going through university without friends – trust me, you can’t! Friends come in handy for a whole bunch of reasons: collaborating on assignments, reminding each other about exams, and even just venting about that one annoying class we all have. Embrace the chance to make new friends and create unforgettable memories together. 

 So here are my most helpful tips on how to make friends when you're in university!


Attend orientation

This is a must for your first-years. Orientation is such a fun time! There are honestly a lot of exciting things to do there and not to mention there is so much free food that, even if you don't make friends- you will be happy that you went. 

I remember being hesitant to go to orientation because I didn't want to go unless I had some friends to come with me. But don't worry about it, so many students come alone and are looking to meet new people. Just remember you are all in the same boat and every one of you wants to make new friends, so don't be scared and attend orientation alone if you have to. I guarantee you, you will walk out with at least one new Instagram follower. 

That being said, make sure you put yourself out there and start conversations with people, play the games, and most importantly... get the free food!


Come to Lectures Early 

Coming to your lecture early means that you will be able to find a spot to sit beside people you think you could become friends with. Trust me; during my first year, the sheer number of students in those lecture halls took me by surprise!

Looking back, I wish I had taken more initiative by striking up conversations with people sitting nearby before class began. Since you are in your first year, a lot of your classes will be very general which means you will have people from all different programs in your lecture. 

The few times I came to class early and used this approach, I was able to make quite a few friends. The best thing about this is that if they have a friend group, they will introduce you to all their friends, and bam! Through one interaction you made a whole new group of friends!

If you’re confused about what to say here are some good conversation boosters: 

"What program and year are you in?"

“Are you liking your program?"

"What  made you choose this program/uni?"

"What are your plans after graduation?"

And here's a pro tip: If you want to get to know them better, ask if they'd like to grab some food after class. Who isn’t down for food? It's a fantastic way to bond and continue the conversation.

Study on Campus 

This may sound odd, but the more time you spend on campus, even if it's just you alone, the more likely you are to make friends. I would recommend studying at Shawenjigewining Hall 

Or SHA. Lots of students like hanging out in SHA and it's a pretty cool building too. Since SHA is both a hangout and studying building you will be able to find people who are down to just chill and make friends! 

Join Clubs/Societies 

I know this is probably the most cliche piece of advice and that you've heard it everywhere, but there is a reason! Most people who join clubs are outgoing individuals that will be more than happy to have a conversation with you. The fact that both of you are in the same club shows that you guys have a similar interest in something. 

Go to On-Campus Events 

Ontario Tech is always having events that are perfect for meeting new people! Most times there is food and people who are open to making new friends, which is the best combination because if you end up with nothing else to talk about, just stuff your face with the free snacks to avoid awkwardness. 

If all fails, try to make at least one good friend that you can end up doing everything with. It's important to have one person you can always fall back on and drag with you to all these random events/ adventures. Remember, the university is about learning but also creating memories that will last you forever. Also, PS: not everyone you strike up a conversation with will end up as your friend, it's all about trial and error in your first year! 

Best of Luck!!