Worried about making friends and fitting in?

As a commuting student, I felt quite anxious about coming to university. I was worried about making friends and ‘fitting in’, which I now know a lot of people were worried about. But there was no need to be!

University life (especially here at York) is so different from what I thought it would be, and everybody (all staff and students) are so welcoming.

So, I’ve listed some things which I thought were true about university, and how different it is in reality…

“University social life is all about drinking and partying”

No! I won’t lie to you and say that students never go out to pubs and nightclubs (and if this is what you enjoy, the nightlife in York and on campus is great fun). But there are so many other social events held every week at university that do not involve alcohol at all. One of my favourites is the nature walk around the lakes.

If you are living on campus, most flats have a good variety of people in them too. With some who enjoy going out drinking and dancing regularly, and of course plenty of people who want to get cosy in their PJs and watch the Great British Bake Off in the common room.

“Making friends is really hard, especially if you are quiet”

Absolutely not! Everybody approaches socialising differently, and if it takes you longer to come out of your shell than others it doesn’t mean that you are ‘too late’ to join in and have fun.

You can meet so many new people throughout the year. Whether that’s through a society, working with coursemates or even just cooking with your flatmates.

“It is really hard to ‘fit in’ if you have quirky interests”

Nope! The University of York has over two hundred student societies, which cover such a variety of interests (even a Taylor Swift society…!) And if your niche isn’t already a part of a society, you have the opportunity to create your own.

Something else which the University of York has is the ‘Give It A Go’ scheme. This means you can try out as many different hobbies as you want, before committing to a membership. The volunteers that help to run these sessions are all so welcoming, regardless of your level of knowledge or skill.

Also, for most sports, you have the option to play at either college or university level. So you will be playing alongside people of similar abilities and will not be left behind, even if you have never played the sport before. Starting university is a great opportunity to try new things and pursue new interests.

“Most students just sleep in all day and eat cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner”

Well… I’m not saying cereal isn’t a delicious and versatile snack, but I have seen some absolutely wonderful meals cooked by students on campus. Each flat has such a fusion of cultures, so the food creations are always tasty and offer such a fascinating insight into different traditions.

The food on campus is also absolutely delicious. So if you’re in catered accommodation, there is still so much to choose from whatever time of day. There are so many options and there is always something new and tasty to try.

Of course, you have the freedom to sleep in all day if that’s what you really want to do. And because there are plenty of twenty-four-hour study spaces all over campus, you can take your studying anywhere, regardless of the time of day.

“You have to live on-campus to feel included”

Definitely not. I am a commuting student and I drive 10 hours every week to get to and from university. But in no way has this prevented me from getting involved and making so many friends.

You can still go out for a boogie on an evening – there are some great B&Bs and youth hostels in York that you can stay at afterwards if you need to. The on-campus dining options and college kitchens mean that you can still have breakfast, lunch and dinner on campus during the day too. So you don’t always have to nip home for food and miss out on societies or any social activities.

Everything above is based on my own experience of university so far, but I hope that it shows that you do not have to be worried about ‘fitting in’ or making friends. There are so many options and friendly faces on campus that there is always a place for you at the University of York.

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Hi! I’m Annissa, a commuting first-year Law student at the University of York. My hobbies include boxing, photography and playing the guitar.