Breaking the ice to make uni connections

Wise ASSC blog intern, Steph, introduces us to Diana and Rayane who broke the ice to form a friendship that carried them through lockdown, with tips for creating uni connections.

I remember being pretty nervous on my first day of orientation at uni. I didn’t know anyone in my course, so I came to orientation by myself. I sat down in a MASSIVE lecture theatre, nervously waiting for the lecture to start. 

A couple of girls came and sat down next to me. They smiled and introduced themselves and we all got talking.

Eighteen months later, I was on a plane ride with those very same girls, on our way to Bali. To this day, they are some of my closest friends.

When it comes to making connections at uni, most of the time, it’s just as simple as someone taking the first step to break the ice.

This seemed to be the case for law students, Rayane and Diana, who met at the start of 2020.

Rayane and Diana met in the most unprecedented (eye roll, I know) set of circumstances.

“On the very last day of being on campus before we all transitioned to online learning, we had our last face to face class. However, we didn’t know each other. As we were walking out of class to the bus stops, we got to speaking for about 5 minutes. We decided to exchange numbers and go home, which we have no idea why we did at the time (it’s not something we usually do when meeting someone for the first time for a few minutes),” says Rayane.

Later that same night, La Trobe announced that the university would be transitioning to remote learning. But this didn’t stop the girls from becoming amazing friends.

“We started texting each other and became friends through texts. We still text each other everyday lol,” says Rayane.

Whilst studying online was tough for the girls, they say the friendship they formed helped them through it all.

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Diana and Rayane winning at online learning!

“Studying online took away our motivation. But by texting and calling each other, we kept each other motivated and pushed one another to get through the difficult year… I think we both would have deferred second semester if not for the support we gave each other.”

As soon as lockdown was lifted, Rayane and Diana met up. The girls say “it felt like we had known each other all our lives”.

Making connections at uni can be difficult. Your classes are constantly changing and sometimes, global pandemics get in the way of you making friends. It can be tough.

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Finally meeting face to face!

If you’re new to the university and need somewhere to start, sign up to the ASSC Peer Mentor Program! Whilst the program provides a space for you to ask questions about uni life, the LMS and assignments, it’s also a really awesome way to meet new people!

If the Peer Mentor Program isn’t for you, sign up to become a member at one of La Trobe’s clubs, associations or societies! There are soooooo many different clubs and societies at La Trobe that one of them is bound to tickle your fancy.

But perhaps, you’re not nervous about making new connections at uni. Maybe, you’re starting university and thinking to yourself “I have enough friends. I don’t need anymore”.

I can’t tell you how much forging connections has enriched my uni experience. I don’t know how I would have gotten through the past 3 years of assignments, exams and general life craziness if it hadn’t been for those girls who sat next to me on my very first day.

It may be awkward to be the one who breaks the silence in the Zoom break out room or to ask someone for their name, but taking the steps to make connections will be something you thank yourself for.

If you have any suggestions for any more activities La Trobe can run to help keep us all stay connected, send in your suggestions to the ASSC team at assc.success@latrobe.edu.au