Going to university can be a scary thing. I freaked out for about three weeks beforehand, internalising my terror and acting like a total bitch to anyone that came anywhere near me including my cat Molly who had never done anything to deserve me laughing in her little squishy face when she fell off the couch.
Anyways; the number one fear (in my opinion anyways - you guys might be less insecure than me) is that you won't make any friends. That you'll be a larry loner, stuck in your room, crying on the phone to your mum and reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban for the fourth time* while you hear other freshers outside on the street laughing, drinking and forming lifelong friendships.
*This was absolutely not me for my whole first week.
Anyways, this won't happen to you. Mainly because you're a more together human being than me. But also, because I'm going to give you some advice. I made friends, and I've got worse social skills than Andy Murray after six pints of special brew. Basically, if I can do it, so can you.
Contrary to popular belief, trying to make new friends in fresher's week is HARD. This is mainly because everyone's at their most fickle and spends the whole week looking over each other's shoulder to check they made the right choice in who they're forging relationships with. What you need, is to make yourself indispensible to your new peers so they've got no choice but to hang out with you until they grow to love you.
Here's a few props to help you shoehorn your way into a new friendship group.
Not for SMOKING for goodness sake; don't start that filthy habit. Seven years later I'm still struggling with being a social smoker on account of freshers week. Other people WILL pick it up though; in fact, everyone will smoke cigarettes and weed even more than they normally do because somewhere deep inside they think it'll make them look cool. And somewhere deep inside you'll probably think it makes them look cool (this is yet more proof that we're total idiots). In order to smoke however, they'll huddle together outside to chat; cue you and your lighter showing up right on time. Just don't look desperate yeah?
A Box Of Wine
When your mum suggests a quick trip around Sainsburys before she hops back in the people carrier and leaves you behind in a strange city where you know no-one; say yes. The most important thing to buy is a box of wine. Not a bottle, a box. A box is big enough to keep a couple of people hanging out in your flat for a few hours by which point you'll probably become best of friends AND have established your flat as 'the hangout flat'. This does mean you'll be cooking for hungry freshers several nights a week and that you'll spend most of the time you should be studying cleaning up the morning after the night before but my goodness, WHAT a social life you'll have.
A Spotify Premium Account
Students are cheap. You have to be. You're spending the equivalent of a down payment of a house in Grimsby on six hours a week of contact time in your chosen subject. But, students also hate inconveniences. Because you grew up with broadband internet you don't have time silly things like adverts, buffering and/or downloading. It's the person with the Spotify playlist and/or Netflix account then that people will gravitate towards. House party at yours? Absolutely. Just don't actually tell anyone your password yeah? Or you'll find out the hard way that your presence is no longer necessary.
Because freshers week is all about the fancy dress. Except at my university which was fully of arty people who took themselves far too seriously to get aesthetically involved on school disco night. Anyways, normal, fun people have a ball with fancy dress but fun people are notoriously disorganised and will therefore be running around like a headless chicken desperate for something they can use to particpate in 'Neon Night' along with the rest of you. Enter you and your fluro face cream like a beautiful new-rave guardian angel. Your benevolence will not go unrewarded.
Because when you're hungover, the library seems very far away. Very far indeed. Plus, who's ever actually got the right change to print off three pages of Foucault's theory on power and social interaction? If you've got a printer in your room, you hold the fate of your new friends' entire academic career in your hands. Especially on hand-in day at 11:53AM when hand in's at midday and the online system's crashed due to everyone being late/your university not being very good at technology. Just remember, with great power, comes great responsibility so erm, don't turn into a twat.
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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.