The Covid-19 pandemic rolls on and despite UK government lifting most restrictions, heading off to university will still involve some extra guidance.
This ‘new normal’ will see new ways of doing normal things, like welcome week, your course induction, even going to the pub, and of course – making new mates.
You may be moving to university, commuting to classes or studying in the town you already live in. It’s likely everyone will be making new uni mates.
But what is the best way to make new mates whilst being Covid-safe?
How to meet people at a distance
First off, the key to making new mates at uni is being open to meeting them in the first place. So, make sure you’re saying yes to new experiences, you’re welcoming and friendly, and you listen to what your new friends are saying – show interest in what people have to say and they’ll often show you the same kindness in return.
You are not alone in this experience, and if you are feeling a certain way, it’s likely you’ll find someone else feeling like it too.
Here are some great ways to make new friends at uni – just remember to always follow guidance available and maintain social distancing or wear a face covering when needed!
Go to your course induction
At Bedfordshire, all our students will be given on campus teaching and activities blended with online lectures from September. Look out for instructions and events held by your course or faculty and make sure to get involved.
Get involved in Freshers/Refreshers
During the Welcome period, Beds SU have a host of digital events for you to get involved with, as well as societies and clubs. Make the most of them and get involved where you can! Who doesn’t love a digital pub quiz…
Join social media groups
Have you joined our Student Chat Facebook group? Why not start a course WhatsApp chat? Or follow each other on Instagram? Social media is a fantastic way to get to know new people, and it’s super safe.
Use dating apps as mate-ing apps
Apps like Bumble and Hinge can be used for making friends, not just dating. They’re great if you’re moving to a new place and want to get to know people who live in the area. Make sure to stay safe if you are using apps to make friends – take precautions and always tell someone where you are going when meeting an online friend and always meet in a public place.
Play a sport
Sporting activities are a great way to stay active, make mates, and become part of a team. Go Bulls!
Invite a course mate for a socially distant walk
There are lots of lovely spots and parks around all of our campuses to walk through. Make the most of the autumn weather and invite a course mate for a socially distant walk to get to know each other more.
The best friendships start with a simple hello. Be brave and say hi to someone new and they might just be a friend for life.
If you are keen on making friends, learning some new, transferable skills, and having fun at the same time, you should consider joining Radio LaB 97.1FM.
What is Radio LaB?
Radio LaB is an award-winning community radio station based on the Luton campus of the University of Bedfordshire – broadcasting to Luton on FM radio and worldwide online. It is student-led, with student voices – many making radio programmes for the very first time – dominating the schedule and playing their favourite music. You don’t even have to be a media or journalism student to get involved!
Radio LaB uses industry standard software, kit and radio desks. We have two fully functional radio studios that enable students and volunteers to pre-record or present live programmes. We have invested in technology that allows us to broadcast live from outside the studio – particularly helpful for live events and special occasions. Guests are often live on the phone, using technologies like skype or zoom, or even in person!
Why should you join?
Making radio can improve your communication skills, your sense of community and build your confidence. It can help you become more organised and improve your time management skills. But above all it is great fun, it stands out on your CV, and might end up being the highlight of your student experience at University.
Find out more
If you like making noise and are interested in finding out more, click the button below or email firstname.lastname@example.org today.
There are so many things to see and do on the doorstep of our campuses. If you decide to venture out, please remember to keep up-to-date with government guidance to minimise the risk of catching Covid 19.
Please note: This article contains advice and support for scenarios where there are no Covid-19 restrictions. During periods of lockdown or high tiers, please do not follow this advice.
Don’t take your safety for granted
England is a reasonably safe country to live in, but we shouldn’t take our safety for granted. Whether you are heading out during the day or want to experience the local nightlife, with a few simple steps you can take to help reduce the risks of being a victim of crime.
Try to avoid constantly taking your phone or wallet/purse out of your bag or pocket. Some phones cost hundreds of pounds – you don’t want to draw attention to yours.
Be aware of your surroundings. Listening to loud music or talking on the phone whilst walking can be a distraction from the traffic and people around you.
Know where you are going. Plan your route and walk with confidence. If you get lost, ensure you have the number of a local taxi company saved on your phone. At the end of most roads, there will be a sign informing you of the road name.
Avoid dimly-lit and secluded areas. Stick to main roads where possible.
Keep bags closed and where you can see them. Don’t advertise your valuables, even when on campus or in the Library. You shouldn’t leave belongings unattended at any time.
Don’t go out with large quantities of cash. As well as reducing the risk of theft, this will help you to avoid spending more than you intended!
Pay attention to who is around you when you’re using cash machines (ATMs) & cover your PIN with your hand. If possible, withdraw the money earlier in the day and leave your card at home, or withdraw your money early on a night out. Go to the cash machine with friends if you can.
If you are getting a taxi, try to book one ahead of time. Make sure it’s a licensed one.
More tips for when you’re ‘out out’
Some extra tips if you’re going ‘out out’
Stick with friends and travel home together where possible
If you are drinking, don’t drink alcohol to excess. It’s easy to get carried away with new friends so it’s important to know your own limits. Try and have a glass of water or a soft (non-alcoholic) drink after alcoholic drinks.
Don’t leave any drinks unattended.
Your chances of being a victim of crime is low but following these simple steps will also help you to stay safe.
Societies will be offering in-person and virtual opportunities this year
The pandemic didn’t deter our societies from finding new ways to continue enjoying time with their members, with a host of societies offering members virtual opportunities to join. As we start to move back to campus societies will be looking to restart lots of face-to-face activities as well as maintaining some virtual opportunities where possible. Keep an eye out on our society and event pages for more details.
Start your own society
Our Student Membership team along with your Vice-Presidents for Campus Engagement and Equality will also on hand to support any student or student group looking to set up their own society.
So, if you can’t find a society focused on a hobby or passion that is important to you, then the team can help you get started.
Start a Society: Check out the society page on the Beds SU website or contact us for more information on how to get started.
Societies and charitable activities
Raising money for charities is also something very important to our both our societies’ and wider student community and throughout the year our students volunteer their time to help others. Beds SU is on hand to help all students achieve their goals and we are always proud to showcase achievements.
We hope this intro into the world of societies has given you an overview of the wealth of opportunities of offer to explore away from your studies. Throughout Welcome Week there will be a number of events and activities hosted by some of our societies and our Freshers Days on the 22-24 September so keep an eye on the events page.
For more details on all of our societies, head to the Beds SU website.