Maintaining Friends Outside of the Classroom 

BY Cheng Ma

The more time two people spend together, the more likely they are to become friends. 

Developing social relationships are an important element of life and are a necessity to our mental wellbeing. It has been found in an Australian study that strong social networks may lengthen survival in elderly men and women and is instrumental to better mental and physical health.  

Study Together 

This is a great way to help each other with understanding the course material, whilst also having a buddy to chat with when things get a bit boring. Teaching your friend the material also vastly improves your ability to learn the content. The experience of shared adversity from the stresses of assessments and uni will also help to form a strong bond between the two of you. Studying is also not just limited to your uni friends but can be a great way to keep up with friends from high school or other areas of life as well. 

Agree to Attending Lectures Together Each Week 

After the first few weeks of the uni term, there is a trend of students skipping their lectures. By agreeing to attend lectures together with a friend you hit two birds with one stone. You are now a responsible student that is also able to creatively socialise with your university friend. On top of meeting your classmate in the weekly tutorial, you now have an additional touchpoint with your peer to build a closer friendship.  

Hit Up UNSW Events Together  

Since you are both on campus, you might as well check out the different uni events that are currently on. This leap to hanging out is easy to initiate because it makes sense to spend time doing activities outside of class with your peer to unwind from the stressful course work. Some examples of events to attend together include camps, society meet and greets and professional firm visits.  

Have Coffee Together After Class 

Having coffee or any matter of a meal together is a great chance to get to know your classmates outside of the classroom. It will be a time for you to share your honest thoughts about interests, hobbies and why they have chosen their degree path. One of my fondest memories was a 30-minute coffee session that happened immediately after one of my first-year media classes each week with 4 of my classmates. As a matter of fact, I still keep in touch with a friend from that coffee group and to this day is one of my closest friends that I have made from university.  

Cultivate Routines 

The bottom line is that all of these activities were how I made friends through my time at university. I utilised these methods to cultivate and maintain relationships by undertaking shared activities. The most important thing is to find a way to ensure that you have routines in place making it easier for yourself to make friends. There are definitely multiple ways to make friends, so please don’t feel restricted by the recommendations listed above.  

Remember that this takes commitment from both parties and will be tough sometimes, but this will give you a greater chance that you and your classmates remain friends when the trimester ends. Also, try to hold a habit of not cancelling unless you absolutely have to, this will make it much easier to meet up. Creating and maintaining friends will be good for you, but it won’t always be easy!  

Furthermore, it was found that within closed systems such as school and work you can both be present and converse but never become true friends. Instead, it was found that once you took the relationship outside of these closed institutional systems, that you communicate a desire to become friends outside of your compulsory commitments and form deeper and longer-lasting relationships.