Photo credit: Zile

Undergrads share five effective ways to make new friends in uni

Coming into university as a freshman means adapting to a new campus, new modules, and new people too.

Chua Zile

Published: 17 July 2019, 12:00 AM

Starting university for the first time can be an exciting yet intimidating process, especially when it comes to making new friends.

The flexibility of university classes and curriculum means that people come and go so easily—so making friends requires a bit more effort and intentionality on your part!

With orientation season already up and running, we found five undergrads to share tips on making new friends in university.

1. Mingle with people in class 

“People tend not to change their seating arrangements in class. So even a simple hi, bye or question about work can help you become friends over time.


Group projects are good opportunities to get to know new people better.
Posed photo credit: Zile


I made friends through a group project in year one. My group made an effort to eat outside of class time once in a while, so that these meetings would not be about work.

Because of that, our working relationship evolved to become real friendship.” – Ernest Chua, 22, Nanyang Technological University

2. Get involved in a co-curricular activity (CCA) you are passionate about 

“Just as ‘birds of the same feather flock together’, buddies with the same attitudes and goals improve together. Being in a CCA brings you the right people to connect with because you share similar goals and attitudes as one another.

Going through Muay Thai trainings together helped us find similarities we shared. Now, Rhea is a training buddy who I will jio (invite) to exercise and study.” – Kim Jing Jie, 22, Singapore Management University


People who share the same goals and passions will regularly motivate you, inspire you, and push you to become better.
Photo credit: Lim


3. Participate in freshman orientation camps 

“We were in the same group during camp and decided to sign up for another orientation program together. Spent lots of time together since, and now he is a ‘bro’ that I can count on for a listening ear.

Be genuine and sincere when you talk to other people. If a person cherishes what you can offer, he or she will do the same to you.” – Cheong Shu Yan, 22, National University of Singapore


Freshman orientation camps are your very first opportunity to know people in university.
Photo credit: Zile


4. Don’t judge people by your first impressions of them 

“I joined a dance performance in hall in my first year, and she was my choreographer. We didn’t ‘click’ immediately or even after the performance was over.

It was part chance and part hard work that we became friends. We were able to take modules together because we happened to be in the same major. Both of us put in effort to get to know one another during that time.

Sometimes, you don’t think you can get along with someone you meet at first. Give yourself time to get to know the person for who he or she truly is.” – Joy Han, 22, National University of Singapore


Don’t close the door on a potential friendship by befriending only those you feel are “your type”.
Photo credit: Zile


5. Stand true to yourself 

“Walk away from situations that make you uncomfortable.

It was a big camp. There were a few activities in the camp that made me uncomfortable, but the other freshmen seemed to be okay with them.

I didn’t want to offend anyone, so I found an excuse to leave the camp—and didn’t go back.

Another girl from camp didn’t like it too, so we didn’t join any orientation activities after that. We are still quite close and I am going overseas with her soon.” – Kacie Liow, 22, Nanyang Technological University

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