Feeling nervous about building new social connections? Don’t stress, you won’t be the only one! It’s daunting to find yourself in a new environment, potentially without the friends and family who’ve been your anchor points over the last years close by and this is something that many new students are experiencing. It’s worth remembering at this point that you’re entering into a community of almost 30,000 students from over 150 countries and are perfectly poised to meet a new and diverse range of people who could become friends for life. That’s pretty special.
Invest in Relationships Challenge: Accommodation
So, how can you start to build a social network? If you’re in uni accommodation, that’s a good place to start. Even if you don’t end up being close friends, it’s still better to be on first name and friendly terms in a convivial atmosphere than passing ships in the corridor. That said, have a look at some of these challenges below and don’t forget to buy and print your NUS card at the Welcome Fair to take advantages of student discounts while you socialise:
- Knock and introduce. Take a deep breath and go and knock on the doors of everyone around you in halls. Say ‘hi’, introduce yourself and, if you get a good vibe, see if they fancy meeting up for coffee/going to an event together such as our Welcome Marquee takeovers on the 21st at Strand (10am-7.30pm) and the 22nd at Guy’s (10am-3pm).
- The communal meal. Are you in accommodation with a shared kitchen? Why not get everyone together for some chips and dips and drinks, or a meal if you’re feeling adventurous and get to know each other. Don’t worry if your culinary skills aren’t up to much just yet; it’s all a learning process and many a uni friendship has been forged over experimental meals in the communal kitchen!
- Keep saying ‘hi’. Cut your flatmates a little slack if they don’t initially appear all that friendly. They may just be taking a little while to acclimatise, so don’t write them off. Keep being friendly and offer them the chance to come out of their shell when they’re ready.
Don’t forget that your Residence Associates (RA’s) will be putting on social and community-building events throughout the year in your halls – the perfect opportunity to get to know your new neighbours.
Trying new activities
Uni is the perfect time to try out new activities and from bhangra to Dr. Who, tea drinking, to social justice, there is a KCLSU society for absolutely everyone. If you’re a bit nervous about going, just remember that this is the time of year when most new members join, so you’ll be in the same boat as a lot of other students. You’ll come across societies recruiting at the Welcome Fair and around campus – they want you there! And don’t be afraid to try something new. If you find it’s not for you, you haven’t lost out, but you may just awaken a hitherto undiscovered passion or talent.
Who’s to know what new passions and talents might be unleashed at the KCLSU Welcome Fair!
Aside from societies, don’t forget that there are other social events all year round within your academic departments, halls and Student Services. Anyone staying in London over the winter holiday period can also make use of the Global Lounge provided by International Advice.
For a weekly get-together in an informal and friendly environment, why not check out the chaplaincy international lunch, running on each campus every week, aimed at bringing together international and home students of all faiths and none. Whatever your faith background and nationality, you can be assured of a warm welcome. Whoever said there was no such thing as a free lunch was very much mistaken!
Amidst the hubbub of freshers’ week and finding your feet with balancing academic work with social time, take some time out to reflect on your support network before KCL. Who in your life do you truly value; which relationships mean the world to you, are supportive and a force for positivity in your life? Once you’ve reflected; whether this be friends, family, significant other, think about how you can continue to invest in these relationships even if there may be distance between you.
It’s a common thing to worry about how a significant life change like going to uni might affect the dynamics of our relationships, but with Skype, WhatsApp, snapchat and student travel discounts, you needn’t feel far removed. You can actually have the best of both worlds as you continue to nurture your prior relationships and broaden your social circle at King’s.
Keep Investing Challenge: Reach Out
So, why not reach out now? Think of your super 5 supporters, who you know always have your back and write them down. Send them all a card to let them know you’re thinking of them, drop them a text or a WhatsApp message and let them know how you’re getting on.