Some young people have always had a hard time making friends at university.
With all the changes that come out of high school and into this new phase, it is normal to feel a little intimidated when meeting others.
Now, on top of these difficulties, a greater one is added: COVID-19. To protect their health, everyone is required to wear a mask and keep a distance of 1.5 meters.
This makes it more difficult to sympathise with others. Faces are half covered, as are the facial expressions, plus there can be no physical contact.
However, even if it is somewhat different to normal, it is still possible to make friends. Especially if you take into account the following recommendations.
Meet your fellow residents
Your student residence is one of the first places where you will meet other people. It doesn’t matter if you have private or shared accommodation, as both options offer many opportunities to meet others.
If you share accommodation with another student, you will definitely want to meet each other, because you will cross paths every day. To encourage interaction, you can leave your bedroom door open while you’re inside. That way your housemate can come to greet you more easily.
It is also good to find opportunities to chat. For example, if you arrived at the residence before your housemate, you could help them carry their things. Another alternative is to start with common questions that allow you to get to know each other, such as:
- Your name
- Your age
- Your degree / course
- What you like to do in your free time, etc
Even if you both wear masks when talking, these daily encounters will help you to get on well.
On the other hand, if your accommodation is private, you will have to meet other people in the common areas of the residence, especially those that are outdoors. For example, you could take advantage of the gardens and the rooftop to talk with others without posing a greater risk to their health.
Join group chats
Group chats are excellent for maintaining fluid communication with your classmates and housemates. So one of the first things you need to do is make sure they include you in them.
In these group chats, there are no awkward interactions like those that usually happen in person. Instead, being a part of these written conversations will help you get to know the people around you more. Even interacting with them later will be easier.
Attend open-air events
The outdoor activities that take place on your university campus will be the perfect occasion to make friends. In particular those that do not involve food or drinks, since your mask would have to be removed to consume anything (which would increase the risk of getting COVID-19).
As long as the use of the masks and a safe distance is maintained, we recommend that you attend and try to talk to others.
Participate in online events
Online events have become daily life for students. Luckily, this type of meeting not only serves to facilitate classes but also to talk to others without masks and without health risks.
Many universities have taken the initiative to create online events for new students. There you can not only get to know a little more about the university, your course, and the professors, but you will also be able to chat with your classmates.
Other more fun alternatives have also emerged thanks to the students themselves. The most popular is that each participant makes a presentation about themself that includes:
- A bit of their background
- Interests and hobbies
- An intriguing or funny personal fact
Participating in these types of initiatives is great for breaking the ice and making friends easily even in times of COVID-19.
Using social media
Following your classmates on social media is an excellent way to discover their interests, personality, and get to know them more thoroughly. As the effects of the pandemic wind down, this is one of the best ways to find people with common interests.
Go ahead and comment on a post or leave a greeting in their inbox. That could be the beginning of a new friendship.
Join student clubs and societies
If you have free time after school, consider joining a university society that interests you. It could be a sports team, a reading group, or a volunteering opportunity.
Find out which options are available at your university and choose the one that appeals the most. The advantage of these societies is that it is very likely that you will find people similar to you.
As you can see, making friends at university in times of COVID-19 will be a little different, but it is completely possible if you dare to interact with your environment.