Making new friends… in your first tute

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Tutorials are daunting, especially when it’s a guarantee you’ll be called on in front of the whole room to tell everyone a little bit about yourself. With a bit of luck you’ll have scored an afternoon class, but chances are you’re going to be dragging yourself out of bed at 8am to get there on time, bleary-eyed and anxious. Making friends under this kind of intense pressure is difficult, but we’ve got you covered.

Start with the basics

The easiest way to make friends in your first tute is to engage with the other people in your class. You’re going to be spending an hour a week with them for the next three months, so you may as well find out what their deal is on the first day. Of course this can be easier said than done, especially if you’re naturally quiet in big groups. So just start with the basics: don’t look at your phone; don’t be on Facebook; and every now and then look at the person who is speaking so you can at least pretend to be interested. If you’re shy, fake it till you make it. Nobody ever died of embarrassment because they said, “Hi, I’m…”

Always swipe right

If there’s a modern-day take on the old phrase “never judge a book”, it’s probably “always swipe right”. In a class of 30 people, some of you aren’t going to like each other, but you’re not going to know that for sure until about week three or four. In the meantime, you should give everyone in the room a chance. One of the great opportunities you’ll have throughout uni is getting to meet people you wouldn’t normally hang out with. Seize this chance on the first day to befriend someone who, on the outside, is your polar opposite. Then become BFFs, and one day write a book about an oddball pair who became friends despite the world saying, “WTF, they’re polar opposites.”

Play to your quirks

This is an advanced move, and might take a bit of preparation and introspectiveness, but try to think about something genuinely interesting about yourself to say when your tutor makes you do introductions. (Note: this will happen – it must be written down in the how-to guide for new tutors, because they all do it, no matter how painfully awkward it gets.)

If you stand up and tell everyone that you’re an 18-year old Arts student, you aren’t giving your future friends much to work with. Be bold and be creative; grab the opportunity to tell a bunch of strangers that you’ve watched The Rocky Horror Picture Show at least once a week since you were 13, and that Dr Frank N Furter is your #squadgoal. Chances are, if you’re passionate about something, there’s going to be someone else out there who’s passionate about it too. You might have just started the Rocky Horror society without even knowing it.

Don’t be that guy

On a serious note, it’s no longer considered cool to be the class clown who holds everybody back. You may have seemed charmingly rebellious when you were in high school by wisecracking at every comment made by your teachers, but your classmates are paying good money to be at uni, and you’re not going to make any mates by constantly interrupting with your sharp wit. That doesn’t mean you can’t let a joke slip out or have a laugh, but when your tutor starts repeating “OK, but seriously”, it’s time to zip it.

Finally, keep this in mind: it’s easier to make friends on the first day of class than on the last. On day one everyone is going to be just as nervous as you are, and introducing yourself out of the blue to total a stranger is perfectly normal. Don’t go through the whole semester wishing you’d taken the opportunity to get to know the people you’ll be sharing your first taste of uni with. Just say “hello”. 

Ben Rice

Ben Rice is a law student who writes a lot of stuff that people don’t read at Or, you can find him on Twitter @benny_writes.

Image: cmcpherson, Flickr Creative Commons license