Social connection tips

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Everyone is nervous and anxious at the start of university – and would welcome someone to strike up a conversation with them. It might be hard to remember that when you're in the moment, so here are some other tips and ideas to help you get and stay socially connected on campus.

Ways to get connected and involved

Say yes to invitations and practice introducing yourself to people in lectures. Everyone finds it hard to make the first approach, so just do it. There are heaps of ways to get connected – here are a few ideas to get you started.

Join a club

Check out the clubs on campus. They range across cultural, social, faculty, arts, political and religious groups. If there isn’t something there for you, think about setting a club up yourself. AUTSA will help to support these initiatives.

Clubs list on AUTSA website

Improve your public speaking

If public speaking is ultra-scary for you, think about joining our AUT Toastmasters’ Club. It’s a very supportive and friendly atmosphere.

​Toastmasters Club website

Go to events (or help at them)

Other great ways to meet people include going to events or volunteering your time to help others. The AUT Student Association holds regular events and always needs people to help at them.

Volunteer your time

Take on a challenge with the Edge Award

​Join the Edge Award and get start attending professional development events and carrying out community service. You can sign up to attend an information workshop, or learn more about the award below. There are four parts to the award and you must complete set projects in each: volunteering, employability, leadership and challenge, and reflection​

Tips on meeting people and making conversation

Everyone wants to make friends as much as you. Here are some ways you can initiate conversation:

  1. Sit next people in lectures. If you turn up to a lecture theatre where you don't know anyone, it's easy to just keep your head down and pretend to read something on your phone. Don't do that. Instead, sit next to someone and introduce yourself. What's the worst that can happen? If it isn’t successful, the lecture will start soon anyway.
  2. Organise a study group. Many minds together can make an assignment a lot clearer. Even if you have great understanding, teaching someone else helps cement the ideas.
  3. If you're shy, put up a notice up with your phone number on tabs – this makes it easier for other shy people to connect with you, too.

The do's and don'ts of making friends at uni

Here are some extra tips for making friends when you start university.

What you should do:

  • Compliment people: it feels weird at first, but this is the perfect way to initiate a conversation with someone new
  • Say YES to everything: well, not everything, but university is all about trying something new and getting out your comfort zone
  • Use existing networks: if you have friends from home or family members at the same uni or in the same city, get them to introduce you to their friends
  • Show an interest and listen: genuinely listen to what people say and respond like you care. People will notice and want to keep talking to you
  • Make multiple friendship groups: your flatmates aren't the be all and end all; it's best to have multiple groups of friends in different areas of uni life
  • Remember names: we know it's hard when you're meeting so many new people at once. Try repeating it back to them when they introduce themselves

What you shouldn't do:

  • Get too drunk: we've said it once and we'll say it again. Stay safe and try not to become a liability for your friends to look after
  • Judge people: you're probably going to meet people from a wide range of backgrounds, but don't judge people just because they're different from yourself
  • Put too much pressure on friendships: becoming friends with someone on day one doesn't mean they have to become your Best Friend Forever (BFF) for life
  • Become someone you're not: you don't need to impress people, and they'll appreciate you more for being your authentic self.

Contact us

Need help or have a question?

Contact the Student Hub

Hub hours

Wellbeing: physical, mental, sexual and spiritual health

Take a look at some tips on how to take care of different aspects of your wellbeing.

Look after your wellbeing

Take a trip to the AUTSA Lodge

Did you know AUTSA has a lodge to hire? The AUTSA Lodge at Tongariro National Park is available at rock bottom prices for AUT students. It sleeps up to 12 people and all you need to take is your sleeping bag and some food. The Lodge is four hours from Auckland and an hour from Taupo.

Lodge info on AUTSA website

Find support and services

There are lots of support services for AUT students, including:

Need more ideas?

Some of the content on this page is taken from the Save the Student website, which is full of free advice about saving money as well as other general student life advice. Check out their website for more social connection tips.

Save the Student website

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