By Megan Evans | Advice Editor
Building trust and confidence at university takes a lot of time to be built, and as Freshers Week is about to commence, the need to boost confidence can be so beneficial for those who want to make friends and boost self-esteem in the process. Lockdown across the UK and the rest of the world has prevented us from attending those socialised gatherings we all know and love particularly through work and down time, so it is inevitable that it will be a stressful time for those students who haven’t had the time to prepare and those who maybe haven’t experienced socialising that university brings, even with the implemented restrictions.
As a shy person myself, I always want to know the best advice on overcoming shyness but the best thing to do in my opinion, is to throw yourself into the deep end as much as possible, but not so much that it is overwhelming and makes you feel more anxious. Strive to take as little steps as possible to make an effort that is more so than what you would usually feel comfortable with.
For example, if you want to meet new people, try and initiate conversation with the people in your lectures and seminars as this will provide you with a boost that may be great for the future, as they could be potential friends that will guide you through your university experience.
Join a lot of societies that you feel like would benefit your experience, and not just because you know one person already. I feel like going in on your own makes you more likely to make more friends and feel more confident within yourself because you haven’t got that crutch of someone else with you.
It is also great to practise talking even before you start. If you genuinely feel nervous to speak to new people, find common interests and common ground within anyone that you can, whether that be in a café, on the bus or with your housemates friends. Where I work, I have to make small talk quite a lot, so the more I do it, the more confident I feel the next time I attempt to do the same thing.
Again with gaining experience, try not to turn down opportunities just because you are too nervous. The more times you push yourself to doing something you don’t really want to do, the better. Even if that is answering the phone, or answering the door, do an act each and every day that enables you to face people as this will allow you to feel a lot at ease with the bustling nature of day to day life. This retrospectively, will enable the building of trust and confidence at university to be at a quicker pace.
Making friends is a lot easier than you may first think. It is incredibly daunting to join a new university, especially the size of Cardiff and think that you will make friends as soon as you join. It takes a bit of perseverance and time to really enjoy and engage with people, but just try to be as open and honest as you can. You may end up meeting someone who feels exactly the same way about things as you, so allow yourself to speak to as many people as you can when engaging in events through your course and extra-curricular.
Coronavirus has and continues to impact party sized activities, which can make confidence slip especially with the uncertainty still circulating around. Make the most of what you can do, and allow yourself to get to know people through the duration of the year. It doesn’t matter what year you are in, confidence has dropped dramatically and there can be a number of reasons for this. Enjoy the beauty of having these slightly more intimate conversations with the closest people, and embrace the possibilities as everyone is in the same boat, and will be even more willing to get to know you. If we can all aid the building of trust and confidence together, it makes facing the world a lot easier.
If you need further support at university, do not hesitate to visit Cardiff University’s support page: https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/study/student-life/student-support