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How to Make Friends as a Postgraduate Student

Worried about meeting new people when you start your course? Current postgrad Hannah Seaton has some advice…

It’s mid September and you’ve just arrived at your new student house in the town where you’re studying your postgraduate degree. You’re not an undergrad anymore; you aren’t constantly meeting hundreds (if not thousands) of freshers, and you might be living with just two or three other people who already have very established lives in the city you now call home. So how do you kick start your social life?

Housemate small talk

Well for starters, just remember how difficult it was when you started as a fresher – a slightly awkward 18-year-old out in the big bad world for the first time without your parents to run home to if anything bad happened. Now you’re 21 (or older) and much more confident in yourself – you know what you’re doing, you’ve done this before. You can look after yourself and have most likely become a master of small talk after three or four years of meeting new people every single day. The best way to make friends is still the same as before: just be friendly, chat to your new housemates, ask them about their day, and so on. Even if they aren’t necessarily your type of people, it’s still great to come home to someone you can have a chat with after a long day of uni work.


Get to know your coursemates

These are the people who will most likely become some of your closest friends over the year. You are doing the same course so you already have something in common to chat about, which is a good start. I found that the people on my course were some of the first people I have ever met where we all just clicked remarkably quickly – most likely because we all have similar personalities and similar interests.

Make sure to suggest the pub after lectures in the late afternoon, or lunch after earlier lectures. This is especially important in the first few weeks when everyone is a little nervous. And make lots of effort to talk to everyone on your course; obviously some you’ll click with more than others but it doesn’t hurt to be friendly with everyone – you’ll be working with them all year, after all.

Postgraduate friends

Get out of the student bubble

You’re a little bit older now and your interests have probably changed from when you were a fresher. Heavy drinking now corresponds with a pretty bad hangover the next day, making going out on a school night pretty painful and hanging out with undergrads a less appealing prospect.

Societies are obviously a great way to meet people, but you should also make sure you get out there in the community – maybe do an exercise class, an art class or book club, for instance. Soon you’re going to be in the real world, mixing with real adults, and your postgraduate degree is a great way to get some perspective on what things are like beyond the student bubble. It’s not all that bad.


Go off the beaten track

Let’s be honest: as much as we all like to pretend we’re all grown up, we still like a little bit of a drink and a good clean night out now and then. But avoid the big, undergrad hangouts and try and find some of the more interesting little clubs in your new town. Arrange a night out with your coursemates after the first week; it’s a great way to let your hair down and really get to know your new friends after what will probably be quite an overwhelming start. And it’s a great talking point for the next week – memories are what the best friendships are founded on!


- 8 Ways to Stay Healthy While Studying a Postgrad Course

- 9 Thoughts All Postgraduate Students Are Guaranteed to Have at Some Point


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