Forget the pressure to go out every single night of Freshers’, or the not-so-gentle encouragement to “Down it fresherrrrr” (a chant so common you’ll hear it in your sleep); for me, the most nerve-wracking expectation of Freshers’ week was that I would find the friends that I would bond with for life. My soulmates, the gals and guys who’d be there at my dying bedside 70 years from then.
I can guarantee that anyone embarking on the university experience will have heard this promise before, the promise of friendships that will last a lifetime. Perhaps for some of you this assurance of an immediate intimate social haven was a selling point. This, I was sure, I would find in that first, intense, chaotic week of boozin’.
And you know what? I do believe that I’ve found them – my soul sisters – I really do, but they are not the same people that I bonded with in Freshers’. In that first week, you will probably find a group and cling on to them with the formidable clutch of FOMO (fear of missing out, for those who aren’t in the know), and that’s totally okay! I know people who did develop some serious sisterhood/brotherhood friendships in that short week, which is awesome, but save yourself some unnecessary stress and don’t enter Freshers’ like I did – with the weighty expectation of finding the greatest friends in that time and absolutely crapping myself if I didn’t get along with everyone I met.
The beauty of all universities, particularly a university with a diverse demographic like Leeds, is that there are so many potential friends out there and so many opportunities to meet them – if you put yourself out there. I was still making new friends right up until the end of my 1st year and I very much intend to be doing the same this year, and the year after that, and the year after that.
Be open to friendships beginning, changing, disappearing and reappearing. Remember that almost everyone is nervous and almost everyone is a potential friend. Above all, be yourself, be honest and be kind, and you’ll find a way.
Good luck, solider.
Header Image Credit: HowStuffWorks