It’s never too late to make friends

University of Leeds
4 min readSep 17, 2021


BSc Sports and Exercise Sciences student Bethan Partridge shares her tips for making friends at university.

Starting university can be extremely challenging. There is the pressure of meeting new people and developing friendships, the transition from school to university, the move to a big city and living with people you’ve never met before. All these things are not going to be easy! You may feel you haven’t settled in quite as you hoped or you’re feeling slightly homesick, this blog contains a few ideas of things you can do to help you feel more settled and enjoy your experience at the University.

Two rowing teams race on the river.
Joining a society is a great way to meet people who like the same things as you.

Join a society

Lots of societies host give-it-a-go sessions where you can attend in order to try them out to see if you enjoy what they are about and whether you think you would fit in. It is the perfect way to find likeminded people and do something in your spare time that you enjoy. LUU has all the information on clubs and societies:

A group of students stretch after an exercise class.
Taking part in an exercise class is a fun way to meet new people.

Go to a gym class

Not only does attending a gym class provide a massive boost of endorphins that can help reduce stress and worries but encouraging others in your gym class can be a great way to make new friends and the motivation will likely be reciprocated too! The Edge have lots of gym classes (which are free for first years) including yoga, body pump and combat.

Ring an old school friend

Talking to friends from home can be a great way to feel comforted. You can reminisce on old memories, discuss your new lives and you never know they may also be in a similar situation to you and therefore could offer advice, support and be a listening ear.

Get a part time job

Not only is this a great way to earn some extra cash, having a job will help keep you occupied in your spare time and you may also develop friendships with your co-workers from a diverse range of backgrounds and ages.

A group of students chat as they drink coffee outside a cafe in Leeds’ Granary Wharf.
Head out for a coffee with new people and explore Leeds together.

Explore Leeds

There is so much to explore in Leeds including green spaces, independent cafes, restaurants, and art galleries that are worth a visit. Public transport is quite cheap for students in Leeds and it doesn’t take too long to reach some real hidden gems away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Go for a coffee date

Visit one of the incredible independent restaurants and cafes in and around Leeds for a coffee and cake — why not ask someone from your tutorial or seminar? You never know it may develop into a support network for academic studies as well as a friendship!

Do something familiar

If you are feeling homesick, doing things that are familiar to you prior to moving to university is a great way to feel more settled — you might have a favourite book, film or recipe that you used to cook at home. Reaching for these things can be really helpful in providing comfort.

Keep busy and get out!

This may sound strange but keeping busy and spending time outside of your flat or accommodation can be the best thing for you! Try working in some of the spaces on campus whether this be in a café on campus, in the city or the library. You never know who you might meet in these spaces especially if you’re a regular. Keeping busy and planning lots of activities also allows you to experience new exciting things and gives you less time to dwell on thoughts and feelings. If you live in Halls, you can also take part in some Residence Life events. There’s a full programme of events organised throughout the year to help you settle in, meet new people and try new things. In previous years they’ve organised crafts evenings, taken trips to locations such as Windermere, Keswick, and Knaresboroughand and organised pet therapy sessions!