Let me set the scene. It’s moving day. Not only are you late, but everybody’s already sat around your soon-to-be kitchen table, mildly intoxicated – you’re the odd one out. Sound daunting? Because I definitely thought it was. If, like me, in this situation, you wanted nothing more than for the floor to swallow you up, then keep reading.
TIP NUMBER 1: The kitchen is your friend!
Regardless of your accommodation type here at Lancaster University, the vast majority of you have a shared kitchen. This is ideal, as we’ve all got to eat, right? If you’re feeling up to it, cooking meals with your flat is an easy way to feel included (especially if you’re a good cook). If you’re not, that’s okay. Simply resisting the urge to scurry back to your room after you’ve cooked dinner works too! Research from the University of Oxford has proven that the more frequently people eat with others, the more likely they are to feel happy and satisfied with their lives. So, take a seat with your spag bol, and ask how your housemate’s day was! You’ll often find too, that this brings the added benefits of stress relief, as talking about your academics with another person can help make you feel more at ease while at university.
TIP NUMBER 2: Get to Your Lectures/Seminars Early
I know what you’re thinking. This essentially equates to getting out of bed earlier. As a typical member of the teenage generation, I completely get why this sounds like a terrible idea. Trust me though, if you’re anxious about getting to know your course mates, it’s a smart move. By doing this, it gives you chance to get seated before the lecturer begins speaking, creating a relaxed environment to have a good natter! I found in my first week that doing this actually made the workload easier. It gave me lots of people to discuss things with – and even to ask for help from when I needed it. Try asking people where they’re from and what made them choose their course.
TIP NUMBER 3: Bring Something to the Party!
Whether this includes taking a bottle of vodka to a flat party or simply bringing a pack of cards to dinner, contributing something to a social event can help reduce the stress and make you feel more valued within the situation. If you feel appreciated by those present, it offers a huge confidence boost and makes it easier to get involved! Think back, whoever’s dishing out the shots always tend to be the party favourite!
TIP NUMBER 4: Complete menial Tasks Together (it gives your flat a family feel)
This one’s pretty self-explanatory, but it works! Try inviting your flatmates to the laundrette or encouraging an ‘online-shopping night’ where you all nominate a supermarket and get your week’s shop.
TIP NUMBER 5: Explore Campus (especially in the first few weeks)
As I’m sure you’ve heard, there’s a bountiful selection of takeaways to choose from at Lancaster University – arguably a dangerous amount! However, there’s plenty more on campus to do too! To list a few, the nature walk around campus makes for a perfect wind-down evening activity, with the sports centre offering the exact opposite, with opportunities for the more energetically inclined, such as climbing and swimming.
Everybody experiences anxieties, and that’s normal! So hopefully, these tips will help socialising become a little less intimidating!