Find out what life is really like at Durham University

When you come to uni, the question of making new friends often comes up and that can be really intimidating for lots of people. If you’re unsure about making friends, I guarantee you are not alone. I felt really worried about making friends before uni. In fact, I think I was the most stressed about making friends compared to everything else about uni.

All these really unhelpful questions swirled in my brain as I prepared to come to Durham, so let me once again just reassure you, if you’re worried about making friends you are 150% not alone.

So now you’re probably wondering how it all turned out? Did I end up making friends? To cut a long story short, the answer is yes – I did end up making friends, and so many more than I ever thought I would. And now that I’ve gotten that cheesy answer out the way, I’ll get onto the part where I tell you where and how you can make friends at uni, particularly at Durham.

In your college

Firstly, one of the great things about Durham is the different levels of engagement. First, there are the individual colleges which all students are part of, and that’s where you live in your first year, and where you can take part in clubs, sports and societies throughout your whole university time. I met many of my closest friends in college because I lived with them in first year. Because you’re living together, it can be really easy to forge friendships as you can plan meals, cook together, take trips into town, have movie nights and more.

Meal times are a great way to forge friendships.

All colleges also have clubs, sports and societies you can be part of as a college member, which is another great way to make friends because they are scheduled opportunities to socialise with people who have a similar interest. I joined the baking society, book club and woodwind group and while I didn’t stay part of those societies very long, it was still a great way to meet people. You can also join as many college societies as you want, so it’s a great way to make friends with different people linked to different interests of yours.

Through your course

Another way I’ve made friends is through academic sessions, within my department. Before the year started, many of us join Durham Freshers groups on Facebook and that can be a great way to connect with people who are doing the same course as you. That way, you know at least one or two people before your first class.

I met one of my closest friends in a seminar, we started walking to and from certain lectures together, and from there, we introduced each other to our own college friends. Before I knew it, I was good friends with her college friends and now we have a dinner and movie night as a small group every two weeks. So, as you can see, it’s also quite easy to expand your friendship circles beyond just the people you meet in college or through classes.

Making friends with course mates.

By joining societies

The last place where I’ve met some of my closest uni friends is through wider uni clubs and societies. Durham has over 250 clubs and societies beyond the college ones that any student can join so believe me there should definitely be at least one or two that pique your interest and can be a platform for you to meet people with similar hobbies. I joined the Creative Writing Society in first year, and even though we only had online sessions that year, I connected with this amazing group of individuals and now we have our own little meet ups outside of the society.

And just in case you think there might not be a society for you, you can create your own … I started the DU Disney Society last year and through being an exec on the Disney and Creative Writing, I’ve made entirely new friendships with fellow bookworms, writers and Disney lovers who I never would have met if not through those societies. What’s also such fun about these societies is the activities are social in nature, making it relatively easy to introduce yourself, get to know other people and start the ball rolling on a possible friendship.

Making friends through societies.

So, as I’ve hopefully shown you, there are so many opportunities and places where you can make friends at university – through college, classes and even your extracurricular activities and hobbies. In a way, you won’t be short on opportunities – I’d say it’s just about making sure you make the most of them. Sign up for loads of societies you find interesting, join the various social activities you think sound fun and remember, you’re probably not the only one feeling shy so just say hi and see where it goes. I’ve made so many friends just from trying new things, and introducing myself. I hope that this eases your mind if you’re feeling stressed, and also makes you excited about everything university has to offer.

Thanks for reading! Read more about my University experience on my blog.

Tia van Loggerenberg

Hey everyone! I’m Tia van Loggerenberg. I’m a second-year international student doing Education Studies single honours in John Snow College. I’m the founder and president of the Disney Society, secretary for the creative writing society and chocolate enthusiast. I also run a lifestyle blog called Tall Blonde Tales, where I include stories and advice about university, so if you’re interested, you can check that out too! Today, I’m sharing some of my favourite places to eat in Durham - I hope you enjoy it! 

Related posts
InternationalStudent experience

My summer school experience at Durham Law School

Durham CityStudent experience

What attracted me to Durham and the North East?

Student experienceUndergraduate

Why I chose to stay in the North East

InternationalStudent experienceUndergraduate

Why I chose the UK and the North East