Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe
Meeting people at this time is difficult. Even meeting people you already know is hard. So you can imagine that packing up your life and travelling miles, hundreds of miles, in some cases thousands of miles and trying to meet some new people to share this latest adventure with in near impossible.
I was concerned when I decided to do my masters at this point in time. I had no other prospects seeing as jobs were hard to come by (especially in the events industry) so going back to university seemed and resolvedly was the best option for me. As soon as I accepted my offer to study, I wanted to make the most of my one and only year here, so I joined lots of Facebook groups/pages and found plenty of WhatsApp groups to join including a fresher’s chat, a postgraduate chat, a local students’ group, a Surrey Court accommodation chat and my course chat. I also researched which societies I wanted to join, and I started following their social media pages. Some of them posted available committee positions so I applied for a couple of them and was added to the committee groups chats as well. It was obviously easier to connect with the fellow committee members as there were only a few people in these chats instead of hundreds of people.
I joined lots of Facebook groups/pages and found plenty of WhatsApp groups
The group chats were constantly active. I spent a lot of my time just reading and participating the group conversations. I was putting in so much effort into e-meeting people and making connections ready for when I got onto campus. I wanted to hit the ground running with my social life being so successful that I was making up for lost time. I was already lucky enough to know two students who would be attending. One was my best friend of almost 18 years who had been studying at Surrey for 3 years and was just coming back off her placement to finish off her undergraduate degree. The second was a friend who I had known for about 6 years and was transferring to Surrey to complete her final 2 years of her undergraduate. We made sure that we met up once a week for either lunch or coffee just to keep up to date on how we were all handling getting back to Uni during COVID. My course mates and I also made the effort to meet up before our lectures started so that we could get to know each other, what modules we had selected, what style of writing we did, and what our future career hopes were.
I wanted to hit the ground running with my social life being so successful that I was making up for lost time.
The way I met my closest friends however was actually through my flat. I have lived in flats previously where no one got on. Where no one spoke to one another. Where you were nothing more than people who lived together. I was not going to let that happen this year. I put in so much effort to engage in conversations with my flatmates, I arranged games nights, flat dinners, I started the flat group chat (yes, yet another group chat), I was putting in so much energy into getting me and my flatmates to bond. This was especially hard as we were a very international flat with people from the UK, Hong Kong, China, Portugal, Iran, and Nigeria. Plus for the first couple of months I was the only girl living in this flat. I then met a Cypriot girl living in the flat above me because she had done her master’s degree with one of my flatmates and we connected really quickly. We would arrange to sit outside on the fire escape to have tea and coffee breaks from studying. It was our way of retaining our social life in a COVID secure way. After months of building our friendship, she moved into my flat just over a month ago. I’m also very lucky to have another close friend who moved here from America in February. I met here because her boyfriend (also from America) moved into my flat in December.
It was especially hard [to bond] as we were a very international flat with people from the UK, Hong Kong, China, Portugal, Iran, and Nigeria.
All in all, my closest friends, and my go-to people are as a result of WhatsApp group chats found on Facebook pages and my flat that was randomly put together by the accommodation team at Surrey. These people I have met I know that I will be friends with them for life. If I hadn’t moved into University accommodation I would never had met and bonded with all these people. So despite COVID putting a downer on all our social lives, it is not impossible to meet and bond with people during a national lockdown at University. What may surprise you, is that I find it very hard to put myself out there and be the confident one who forms the friendship groups. I am usually the one who stays quiet and waits for things to be arranged. This was a huge learning curve and growing opportunity for me, and I’m so glad I put myself out there and threw myself into this one year at Surrey. I had so many good intentions when going into this year and despite worrying thoughts of making friends, and whether COVID was going to mess everything up for me. I still stand by my decisions and my energy and vibe attracted my former tribe.