How to socialise with other people on campus at University
University can be a challenging time for many autistic people. The freedom of being able to choose your own classes can be mixed with fears around meeting new people who come from all different walks of life. So how do you socialise with other people on campus? Here are some tips based on Rachel Worsley's experience.
- Join clubs tailored to your specific interest
One of the great things about university is the number of social clubs tailored to various special interests. Whether it’s the Robotics Society, Table Tennis Club or Anime Society, there are a variety of clubs to choose from. There are even Quidditch clubs for those who are Harry Potter fans!
During the university’s Orientation Week (colloquially known as O-Week), take the time to explore the different clubs around campus. Speak to those who are involved in the club. Start up a conversation around why they are involved in the society in the first place. For example, what do they love about table tennis? How often does the table tennis team play? Who are their favourite table tennis players? Showing curiosity is a good socialising strategy that will help you engage with others and make some new friends along the way.
- Get Involved with your faculty’s events
When I was at university, there was an active Journalism Society. I became its Careers Director and helped to run events that featured well-known journalists talking about their area of expertise. The society also hosted barbecues and catch-ups or Friday drinks. Turning up to such events is a great way to connect with potential friends around the same degree that you’re studying.
Get involved with events off-campus as well. Some faculties, such as Law, offer experiences like First Year Law Camp, where you go camping in a new environment as a way of making new friends. If you enjoy camping, this would be a good opportunity to meet other people in a more relaxed setting. Choose events that spark your interest and you’ll be able to find like-minded people to socialise with.
- Catch up with your uni colleagues after class
Finally, don’t forget the people who are in your classes. You may share the same classes with the same set of people for the next few years of your life, so it’s a good idea to get to know them. Group assignments may provide an opportunity for socialising. It could be as simple as asking someone, “Do you want to catch up for lunch while we discuss this assignment?” This could open the door for having a general conversation about other subjects of interest, such as their hobbies. Be sure to ask people questions and avoid dominating the conversation by talking too much about your interests. A good conversation is one where there is a mutual exchange of information about each other.
Join clubs, participate in events and touch base with your classmates. Hopefully these three tips will make you feel less anxious about socialising and more relaxed about making new friends during your university days.