Making Friends 101

It’s getting closer to the day you all move in and start your university experience! i hope you are all enjoying binge watching what do bring with you to university videos on YouTube (please tell me I was not the only one!)

As a girl who moved from Ireland to Edge Hill University, I thought that making friends would be the hardest part about university but low and behold I was very surprised…doing your own washing is the hardest part. However, although it is not the hardest part about starting university and I had a very good friend that I knew from home, it can be quite nerve-wracking especially if you are introverted like I was so, here are some of my tips on how I managed to get people to be in my company voluntarily.

Image result for let's be friends gif

BE YOUR BEST SELF!

I’m sorry for how cliche this is but it is seriously so true. People have this weird ability to sense if people are being fake and this only heightens when you get to university. I will admit that I was very scared to be myself in front of my fellow classmates and flat mates but once I got comfortable, let’s just say that we are now very close and they know why I am not myself around everyone I meet…

Societies will be your first best friend!

I have heard that joining these at the very start of the year can be so useful when wanting to make friends in an environment that you are comfortable in. For example, there are musical theatre groups, dance groups, Doctor Who groups and many more that you would never think of. Don’t make the mistake I made and not join one of these!

Go on nights out!

This is another classic case of do as I say and not as I do. I made the mistake of not going out much with my flat mates and not being able to meet new people outside of my course. I now have learnt that while being an introvert is not a bad thing, it can be damaging when you want to meet new people. Take my advice and push yourself to socialise outside the confines of your flat because, while it might be hard and scary you won’t regret it!

Now that I read this blog again, I really should have titled it, ‘Mistakes I made whilst trying to make friends.’ I really hope that you find the friends you deserve because they really do make the difference to your university experience.

“Be genuinely interested in everyone you meet and everyone you meet will be genuinely interested in you”

Rasheed Ogunlaru

Hi Everyone! Hope you’re well!

So in my last blog post I spoke about ways to get ready for Christmas while at university, and I mentioned that in my next blog I would do cheap, homemade gift and decorations ideas to make for your flat.  I am back home now for Christmas,  but while I was at uni getting ready for my favourite time of year, I really enjoyed making decorations and gifts for my family and friends and for the flat to save myself some money! And I also found  it very therapeutic and nice to do when having a break from uni work and doing it with your flatmates to make your flat look a little more Christmassy!

Paper Chains:

Paper chains are really easy to make and hardly cost anything at all. All it involves is taking strips of patterned or coloured paper and cut them the same lengths, approximately 20cm. To make the strips link, loop one and secure the loop with pritt stick and feed a strip a different colour or pattern through the first loop and secure that with glue. Continue for all of the strips, changing with each pattern. I made mine using a pack of patterned Christmas paper from a charity shop for £2 and doubled up each strip so that the pattern was on the inside and out. These always look great and are lovely to hang in your room to decorate!

Paper bird:

This bird again is very easy to make and is also very versatile in the way you choose to make it.  You simply cut the shape want to do, other ideas are more Christmassy animals such as a reindeer or a dove! Again I doubled up the patterned paper and placed card inbetween and cut a slit in the middle. Next you fold another piece of patterned paper in a  concertina and put this in the slit, then decorate with eyes and use a looped piece of ribbon so you can hang it perhaps off a mini Christmas tree!

Wreath:

This is my favourite decoration to make because it is so easy but always looks good every time you make it! This is also a lovely gift for family and friends or simply, like me to keep for yourself!                                                                                                

 

To make one of these wreaths you need a circular wire to act as the base for your wreath, you can get these really cheap or make your own by bending a wire coat hanger. Next you need small strips of fabric or ribbon and you simply knot each piece around the wire frame! I like to make the pieces long and filling it up well and sticking to a colour scheme, when you are happy with it, simply add a loop of ribbon to hang up, maybe on your flat door or in your room!

I hope you’ve enjoyed the blog and it has given you some helpful ideas for decorating your flat and getting into the Christmas spirit!

Alice 🙂

Endings and Beginnings: Starting University

Three fingers as friends

So, first of all, before you move into Edge Hill halls, you need to know what to bring! Here’s a short guide on “What To Bring To Halls”. After moving in it’s time to be “Starting University and Making Friends”, so here is a piece on doing just that! Since I was in first-year, the Facebook groups for halls have changed slightly – now, there is a group for the whole cluster of halls you’re in eg. Back Halls, Palatine Court, not for the single building. Also, instead of it being managed by Student Advisors, they’re managed by a Campus Communicator – which for half the halls groups, is me! Of course, your old friends don’t just disappear after starting and moving to university so here’s my take on “Maintaining Old Friendships in New Places”.

Three fingers as friends

If you’re not someone who enjoys the packed atmosphere of going out, then you might prefer “A Night In On Campus”, board games, movie drinking games, or perhaps an Open Mic Night! During the first few days on campus, you might notice our the lovely “Birds On Campus” – I’m pretty sure there’s now the occasional heron by the North-West lake too! (Don’t forget to say hi to the cats and corvids as well, those witch-y familiars deserve love too).

After settling in during Welcome Week, the biology students amongst you might be wondering what’s next in store. Well, the “First Year Biology Modules” are the same across all biological sciences courses… or were a couple of years ago at least! Plus, the “Biosciences Cyprus Residential” field trip should be just around the corner, with fun and science aplenty.

Additionally, it’s never too early to start thinking about extracurricular activities you could get involved with that will help you develop your CV and yourself as you prepare for postgraduate life. So have a go at “Improving Your CV at EHU” and take a look at the “Fund for Student Opportunities” to see what you could get stuck into. Don’t let this all freak you out though, I know that adjusting to university can be a big step and know you’re not alone in “Coping With University Stress”. Take a breather; watch the birds. 😉

Last weeks in the USA

During the last few weeks of my time in the United States of America, I had a rapid tour of Washington, D.C.; New York City; and Chicago (although I lived there for around 9 months, there is always more to see – especially since the sun was finally out again)! The day after checking out the National Mall and the Burning Man sculptures (exhibit named “No Spectators”), Diana, who was accompanying me on this whirlwind tour, took me around Georgetown, a really pretty neighbourhood next to the Potomac River that also features a historic canal that is currently being restored. Since there had been a lot of rain before my visit, the Potomac was almost bursting its banks with rapids having formed along its length. From one of the bridges that crossed a sidestream, I was able to see rocks with tiny patches of vegetation hanging on for dear life – even a tiny tree struggling to stand its ground! One person was even kayaking in the main river, not for the fainthearted!

The next day we got a train to New York. Unfortunately, it was raining when we arrived and I, lacking a raincoat, got to ‘jellyfish up’ in a lovely yellow rain mac. The rain let off by the time we had eaten lunch, allowing us to see Times Square without being drenched. If you’ve ever been to London, think Piccadilly Circus but bigger – like most things in the US!

On the following day, we explored many squares in NYC, as well as some parks and Lady Liberty from a distance. NYC has some lovely areas to see, although it’s very compact and pretty busy too. I ate a traditional New York bagel (again, huge) with some vegan garlic and herb cream cheese, which was pretty damn good. Later on, we saw the 9/11 memorial fountains which were quite a sight to see. After seeing the sights, it was time for the flight back to Chicago and catching an Uber to the airport was an absolute nightmare!

To make the most of the sunny weather in Chicago, Diana and I took a trip up to the Chicago Botanic Gardens (CBG), I was particularly interested in seeing the bonsai trees. It’s a huge garden so there was no way for us to see all of it in the time we had, plus, it was far too hot to stay for long. On another sunny day, we visited the beach and I got to play some volleyball – a sport I’ve missed playing a bunch whilst in the states.

In the final few weeks before I left the US, I got to spend some time with some of the wonderful people I met whilst living in Chicago. We played games, went to the Lincoln zoo, had a boozy brunch, took an architectural boat tour, even went out to a club for a drag show. I’m very sad to leave them and my life in Chicago behind, but of course am excited for what the future holds back in the UK, including a summer internship with the Biology department at Edge Hill!

Things I wish I knew before university

Here is a list compiled by some of my nearest and dearest friends of things that they wished they knew before starting university:

  1. Do not worry about making friends! You’ll find a group to slot into and you will wonder why you ever let it worry you!
  2. Don’t leave all the referencing to the end of the essay – you’re going to hate yourself for it at the end.
  3. Everyone has different backgrounds when coming to university – you have to respect that, even if they put the milk in before the teabag. 
  4. How to budget! So many students say they wished they had more experience of budgeting before coming to university. Check out this post or this post about budgeting. Why not ask whoever does the shopping if you can be given the responsibility a couple of times before you come, to try it out for yourself?
  5. It’s okay to feel lonely or homesick sometimes – it doesn’t mean you’re not ‘making the most’ of your university life. It happens, and it is a normal feeling. In this case, I’d always suggest contacting friends from university to speak with first; they’re likely to be a 10 minute walk away for you to go and have a cuppa, but obviously stay in contact with home friends too.
  6. You may become distant with your friends from home, and that is okay too. You have whole new different experiences now, especially if you’re doing different courses. For me, it was important that I stayed in contact with those people, and made sure to do so with the people that were interested in staying in contact with me.
  7. Lecturers and tutors don’t chase you up for that piece of work you haven’t submitted, or that book you’ve read about, as much as your high school and college teachers insist that they do. You’re gonna have to motivate yourselves, guys.
  8. How to cook! Similar to budgeting, my recommendation would be to practise cooking some easy meals before you start at uni, particularly things that you know you’re going to be able to afford to cook. Alternatively, make friends with people who really enjoy cooking…

So there are 8 of the (many) things that my friends and I wished we knew before university. Don’t worry – we’ll keep you informed of anything else we really wished we knew.

Making Friends at Uni – It’s Easier Than it Sounds

It may seem daunting moving to a new place and having to make a whole new group of friends. Especially if you are like me and have lived in the same town all your life and have known your friends for most of that time. People say that the friends you make at university are the friends you will keep for life – in my experience so far, those anonymous voices are right, I’ve met the craziest and best group of friends during my time at Edge Hill and I hope you will too. But one thing to remember about making friends at uni is that everyone is in the same situation and most are probably as worried/confused as you are.

Be yourself

I know it sounds cliché as hell but it’s true, how are you supposed to maintain friendships if you put on a persona that is anything other than 100% you? Try not to make friends by pretending you like/do the same things as them. Trying to impress people who don’t like the real you is not going to end well, either you’ll spend your time feeling uncomfortable or they will find out that you’re not exactly who they think you are. Don’t worry if you meet people you don’t have a lot in common with but like them as people, there’s nothing wrong with making an effort to become interested in what they are interested in, just don’t force yourself! The best thing is to find friends who you can be comfortable with and enjoy being around.

Get out there

One of the most effective ways to make friends at uni is to get yourself out there and get involved in social activities. Societies are the best way to do this, Edge Hill has a society for pretty much anything from rugby to Marvel to dance to video games. Whatever your interests are I’m sure you’ll be able to find a society of like-minded people. I highly recommend attending the freshers’ fair as each society has their own table where you can talk to them and sign up. Societies are also heavily involved in the uni’s weekly social, which is often a good laugh and a great way to relax mid-week.

If drinking isn’t your thing The student union also organises a number of activities throughout the year that aren’t centred around getting drunk, just because you’re sober doesn’t mean you have to be left out!

For more information about the societies that Edge Hill offers click the link below.

https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/undergraduate/student-experience/clubs-and-societies/

Get connecting

Once you find out which accommodation you will be living in, you should be able to find a Facebook group for your halls. There you can ask questions, find out who your flatmates will be and begin talking to people who you will be living with. You can also add people on your course and get to know them before you meet them. This means there will be less awkward “hi how are you?” moments when you meet in person.

Hope you’re all enjoying 2017! 🙂