In keeping with the biggest cliché going, I met my best friend on the first day of freshers’ week, and we’ve been pretty much joined at the hip ever since. After I said bye to mum (and may have shed a few tears…) I walked into the marquee where our freshers’ week activities were being held, and started playing jenga with some of the other students. Later that day when we had some free time I invited the other lawyers round to my room for tea and biscuits – my Dad had bought me 8 packets of biscuits because he thought it would help me make friends. Little did I know, he was right! Food truly is the way to any student’s heart. A few lotus biscuits later, Lauren and I had bonded and would be joined at the hip for the next two years.
Unfortunately, when I went home for Christmas, Mum pointed out that I should probably make some other close friends because Lauren would be leaving for a year abroad at the end of second year. I panicked. I thought that everyone’s friendship groups were settled by the end of Michaelmas, and that I wouldn’t have anyone I was particularly close to by the time third year came round and so when we went back for Hilary I had a mission – to make more friends! Almost two years later and Lauren has left for her year abroad and I’m doing fine – I made some more friends! So here are my top tips for making friends in Oxford, in freshers’ week and beyond.
Biscuits/tea – food is always a good way of making friends. Get out there and invite people round – in freshers’ week everyone just wants to make friends and you are really unlikely to be turned down. Even after freshers’ week, students are always glad of a cup of tea and a biscuit!
Make a subject group chat – whether you do this before starting uni or after you get there, connecting with your college subject group is great because they can be such a strong support system, and know exactly what you’re going through work wise because they’re going through it too!
Join a society or committee – I joined Law Soc committee in Hilary of first year, and it was the best decision I have made. I met two of my best friends on the committee, and it is just so much fun! You will meet lots of people by attending events, and it’s nice to meet other people with a shared interest.
Talk to people – here is the hard part, you have to put yourself out there and talk to people. Add them on Facebook so you can stay in touch, and make an effort to try and arrange meeting up! Oxford has a big brunch culture which I love, so one of my favourite things to do is go for brunch with new friends!
Follow up! Similarly, you have to make an effort to talk to people once you’ve met them so that you become friends. Invite them to an event you think they might be interested in, or if they’re from a different college invite them round for formal. There are always loads of social occasions in Oxford, so plenty of opportunities to see your new friends
Don’t worry about the work – this is important in freshers’ week. Your first essay or tute sheet will always be rubbish because you have no idea what you’re doing – it’s your first week! I wish I had worried less about my essay and more about socialising and making friends, because you really could not tell I’d worked so hard on the essay, and I felt like I’d missed out on meeting people. Learn from my mistakes, don’t let yourself be like that!
Essentially, you have to put yourself out there. It can be hard and scary at times, but you’ll find people you click with and will be so thankful that you did! I find Oxford to be a really social place, and you can make new friends at any time. It could be in the bridge queue, at a ball, or a sports game. You just have to talk to people!