Making Friends in Freshers’ Week – Confidence is Key!

Making Friends


I have never met anyone who wasn’t at least a little nervous about starting at university. A new city, new educational experiences, and crucially, new friends.

Whilst many people are nervous about the demanding nature of their degree, and being away from home for the first time, the most nerve-wracking process can be meeting new people in Freshers’ week, and the pressure to make new friends.

However, everyone I know who has spoken about this says the same thing. They were anxious to speak to people in freshers’ week and keen to fit in, but after a few weeks of Cambridge life, they were happily settled into college and new friendship groups.

Everyone is nervous – you are not alone! 

It might be useful as a prospective student to hear some advice from a recent graduate on how to mitigate these fears, and have the most enjoyable freshers’ week possible. So here are my tips:

Be Confident!

This might be easier said than done, but at least pretending to be more confident than you actually feel will help you.

Whoever you are, whatever your interests are, and wherever you come from, you WILL make friends.

There is such a huge variety of people at Cambridge – people arrive from all walks of life, so do not feel that you don’t ‘fit in’, or aren’t as ‘popular’ – you will find your group.

Try your best to be confident, talk to everyone you meet and engage with them, as you never know who might end up being your best friend.


You might have an idea of who you would like to be friends with at Cambridge, or what kind of friendship group you envision yourself being in.

Leave these ideas at the door and be as open-minded as you possibly can. Socialise and engage in conversation with everyone you can – your college friends, other students doing your subject, people with similar AND different interests from you, friends of friends, and more…

It is so exciting to have the opportunity to meet so many new people from so many different backgrounds, so don’t limit yourself. Not all of your friends have to be from your college, or your subject – difference and variety make a friendship even more rewarding in the end.


Freshers’ week can be a hectic time to say the least. It is actually less than a week long, and packed full of activities from formal dinners, tutor meetings and supervisions to the freshers fair, clubbing, and society meetings.

However, it is being this busy which allows you to meet the greatest number of people, and experience as much as you can in a short space of time.

If you aren’t 100% sure about whether you will enjoy a society, a kind of sports game, or a party – give it a go! You don’t have to go again. Trying it once is much better than never giving it a shot; you never know what you might discover.

Even after freshers’ week has ended, continuing to try new things is the best way to make the most of what Cambridge has to offer, and the easiest way to meet as many people as you can.


The endless socialising and busy activity schedule can be exhausting. It is okay to give yourself a break.

Taking a five-minute break in your room on your own can be a positive experience – you don’t have to spend every waking moment with people. It is easy to feel that being alone at any point is a failure, but it is completely normal.

This is the start of your adult life, and getting used to your own company is just as important as making friends. It’s all about balance.

Making friends in freshers’ week can seem a daunting prospect. Thoughts of being alone and not fitting in can ruin your confidence, and make you feel anxious.

However, these thoughts are completely normal – everyone is scared about making new friends and moving to a new city, and you are never alone. If you have an open-minded attitude, and attend lots of events you enjoy during freshers’ week and beyond, you are bound to end up with a great new friendship group and settle easily into college life.

Everyone is welcome at Cambridge, so be confident in yourself and talk to everyone you can, as you never know who that person might be. Cambridge’s openness and variety means that there will always be a society or a friendship group for you, whoever you might be.

About Anna Gelband
Anna is in her third year at Downing College, Cambridge where she is reading English Literature. She has been specializing in American Literature and Renaissance Literature in the final year of her degree, and wrote her dissertation on modern poetry and visual art. She is also on the committee for the Humanities society at Downing College, and is passionate about getting more people involved in the arts. From next year, Anna will be completing a law conversion course, before beginning a career as a solicitor. In her free time, Anna loves netball, music and going on long walks to discover new parts of Cambridge.

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