How to make friends in freshers week without getting drunk

At first, coming to university can naturally be daunting, but in reality it’s college with harder work and a lot more freedom. Fresher’s week is the most exciting time of […]

At first, coming to university can naturally be daunting, but in reality it’s college with harder work and a lot more freedom.

Fresher’s week is the most exciting time of the year for students new and old, but how can you get the most out of it without drinking? You wouldn’t know it, but beyond clubs, pubs and the associated drinking socials and fresher events, there’s actually loads to do in Southampton:

When you arrive, have a look around and meet people in your halls.

Romero Halls

Don’t forget there’s more than one set of halls, make friends from different halls and make use of your bus pass!

Not unusually, when most people have gone out on the fresher’s drinking socials those staying behind are probably more like-minded to yourself so don’t be afraid to ask around! Everyone will be looking to make friends so if you just talk to lots of people you can find fellow students with shared interests.

A lot of people interact with each other on the Facebook fresher’s pages to see who’s around in their halls, and once you’ve arrived it can be a good place to arrange meet ups. Have a few people round; share a takeaway, play a board game or just some friendly conversation, it doesn’t take much!

Go along to societies related to your interests

vixens baskets icc

Southampton Uni’s Vixens at the ICC international competition.

If you like Astronomy, chances are those at Astronomy society like it too.

Be sure to head along to the Bunfight on Wednesday 23rd September, the main day for going to see societies at their stands and hearing about it from them in person. If you’re put off by the notoriously long queue do not fear! All the information about societies can be found on the SUSU website under the “Get Involved” tab, select “Societies”.

When considering which societies to go along to, don’t only think of finding one that fits your interests perfectly. Look around and try something new! You may find a sport you couldn’t previously access, or an interest you didn’t realise you had until you’ve been along to see what it’s about.

Also bear in mind that all the societies are run by fellow students who are completely understanding of nervousness and would love for you to come join their society. If you’re unsure, you can always email the committee of the society for more information, the address can be found on their society page on the SUSU website.

Some societies favour drinking socials along the lines of fresher’s events, but there are plenty of societies around that take a more relaxed stance with socialising!

Open day stand

The Games Society at the Bunfight style stand on a university open day.

In their website descriptions or on leaflets handed out at the bunfight a society will often say how casual or not they are, for example the contrast between the Badminton and Recreational Badminton society which speaks for itself.

Some societies are purely for fun like the Games Society for casual board games or more intense competition oriented societies like Southampton’s Vixens, the cheerleading society. First year is the best time for trying out something new where the pressure and workload is lighter!

The fresher’s line up doesn’t only consist of drinking events!

That’s right, while it may at first appear that every night is labelled with a different club there are some diamonds in the rough that are worth noting. Each of the halls have their individual rosters for events, but often ones during the day may yet pull through for the avid sober student. These include things like barbeques, trips to beloved local ice cream parlour “Sprinkles”, Karaoke evenings in the stags, film nights and even something called “Hall-lympics” on the common!

Also well worth going along to is the Fresher’s Fayre on Friday 25th September, essentially a careers style event with a lot of potential interesting and useful freebies to be found! Domino’s pizza even consistently have a stand giving out free pizza slices so you have nothing to lose.

Above all else, don’t let people pressure you into doing things or going to events that you don’t want to do!


All being said, some challenges must be faced alone.

This is probably the most important piece of advice that I can give, if you find you are around people who are trying to use peer pressure to make you go to events you don’t enjoy then you’re spending time with the wrong people. There’s no guarantee that you’ll automatically make good friends with everyone in your flat, or even fellow course mates.

There are over 20,000 students at the university at any one time, including approximately 7000 freshers, chances are your potential good friends are out there but first you need to meet them!

Any tips for making friends without going out on the lash? Let us know in the comments below!