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Current student Freya tells us all about her experience in making friends for life here at Edge Hill, and shares her top tips on how to settle in, get to know people, and embrace your new home-from-home.

Tell us how you met your closest university friend

I met my best friend at uni on my first day in lectures. I arrived in my classroom nervous that I didn’t know anybody, but I knew everyone else was in the same boat. I sat down next to a girl who looked friendly and struck up a conversation about the temperature. We chatted for a while, getting to know each other before the lecture started. Then after our lecture we went to Subway for lunch and sat chatting in The Hub for hours. We discovered how many things we have in common, and this quickly became one of my most valued friendships. Her name is Eva, and two years on we now live together in a student house.

Profile photograph of third year student, Freya Reilly

What is your fondest memory with Eva so far?

I’d have to say bonfire night in second year. There are some great firework displays in Ormskirk and also nearby Southport, and we drove around checking some different ones out. We took sparklers with us, and the fireworks were some of the best I’ve seen – I recorded so much of the night on my phone, and I still enjoy looking back at those videos now. We took loads of pictures together too, wrapped up in our hats and scarves, and they’ve been on my bedroom wall as treasured memories ever since.

Another good memory was one of our all-night study sessions in Catalyst during first year. We were both a little behind on our assignment and promised each other we’d go to the library and not leave until it was finished. We ordered Domino’s pizza and spent hours making each other laugh until we cried, while we struggled to focus. However, we did get the assignment done in time and we both got a good grade. Safe to say that was the one and only time we left an assignment until that late – I would not recommend it!

Were you nervous about moving away from home?

Definitely. It was so nerve-wracking to move away from home for the first time and I didn’t know what to expect since I was the first in my family to go to university. Having my family help me move in was very comforting and it was nice to have a helping hand to decorate my room with my favourite photos and fairy lights. However, when it came to them leaving there were some tearful goodbyes.

I sat in my room for a little while and cried a bit, and then I plucked up the courage to knock on my new flatmates’ doors to see if they fancied watching some TV with me in the kitchen while we settled in. I guessed they might be feeling similar to me, so I wanted to get everyone together and do something nice. We sat together watched a film, played some card games and got to know each other. This really helped to calm my nerves – it had only been a few hours and I was already making friends.

That night, we went to a flat party together as a group and we got to know more people in our accommodation block. Getting to know my flatmates and the people in the flat across from me made me feel so much more at ease. From that point on, I knew I had made some valuable friendships, and my nerves had been overtaken by excitement as Edge Hill became a home-from-home.

Third year students Freya and Eva laughing

Be yourself. At Edge Hill, everyone is completely welcome to be their true authentic self. Being true to yourself is the easiest way to attract like-minded people, and these are the people you’ll build true friendships with.


What was something that helped you settle into living on campus?

I printed out lots of pictures of my family, friends and most importantly my cat, Tilly. I stuck all the pictures up on the pin-board in my room and decorated them with fairy lights. Having these to look at always cheered me up. I accessorised my room, too. I went to the big B&M in Ormskirk and bought bright cushions and fluffy blankets. I decided to make my university room look completely different from my room at home, using different colours, and because I enjoyed the process of decorating so much, I felt settled into my space a lot quicker.

Freya and Eva take a selfie. They are smiling to camera.

There’s always lots going on during welcome week. Did you get involved with any activities?

Yes, and I think this can definitely help you settle in. During welcome week, I went along to the freshers fair with one of my flatmates. We had a look around the different society stands and discovered how much was on offer. Freshers fair is a great way to get out and about and have a look at the different opportunities at Edge Hill and joining a society will no doubt help you engage with more people and form new friendships.

What’s your ideal night in?

When everybody in my house is around on the same night, we love to get together and watch a movie or TV show and order a takeaway. Our go-to is either a Chinese or a Domino’s! Our most recent binge watch was Wednesday on Netflix, which we all loved. We all sit together on the sofas and bring lots of blankets and snacks of course. This will always be my ideal night in.

What’s your ideal night out?

Me and my housemates always start our night outs by doing our makeup together in the living room, with the music on, having a few drinks. Taking photos and making TikToks that turn out terribly but make us laugh is just part of the tradition now. We usually get the Edge Link bus from Ormskirk, where we now live as third years, back onto campus to the SU bar and venue. We love our Wednesday nights there especially, and always stay until it closes.

Usually our evenings end with a McDonald’s – there’s nothing better after a night out. There are some other nightclubs in Ormskirk as well, we often go to those on other nights of the week. A new favourite for me and my friends is the Ormskirk food and drink market. It’s a great place to grab some food and drinks with friends, and there’s live music at the weekend. The photo booth, shuffleboard and electronic darts are always a good laugh too.

Have you got any advice for anyone who, like yourself, might feel nervous about moving away from home?

Yes, for sure. The first day you move in, you’ll most likely meet your housemates and learn a little about them. Some might be party animals, some might not be. Whether you go out together over freshers week and bond over drinks and dancing, or stay in together with a takeaway and Netflix, you will definitely find opportunities to get to know those you live with.

Fresher’s week is a great way to get to know people outside of your flat, whether you go out in Ormskirk, go to the SU bar, or go to flat parties – you’ll have plenty of opportunities to meet other first-year students who are also looking to make new friends. Adding them on social media is a great way to keep in contact the next day.

What are your top 3 tips for making friends at university?

Firstly, be yourself. At Edge Hill, everyone is completely welcome to be their true authentic self. Being true to yourself is the easiest way to attract like-minded people, and these are the people you’ll build true friendships with.

Secondly, make an effort on the first day to get to know your flatmates. An easy way to do this is to try to keep your door propped open. Having your door shut can sometimes send a message that you don’t want to be disturbed. With your door open, you’re sending an invitation for your flatmates to pop their heads in and say hi and start up a conversation. If any of your flatmates have their doors propped open, pop your head in ask how they are – they might be waiting for someone to come for a chat. Or you could sit yourself in the kitchen with some music on and chat to anyone who comes in to make themselves a brew.

Finally, on your first day of classes, remember that everyone is in the same position – nervous and looking to make friends. This is the perfect time to break the ice and get to know the people around you. It’s important to get to know the people on your course, because they’ll be your academic peer support with things like assignments and group work throughout the course.

April 28, 2023