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Two students sitting together and chatting on a couch in a recreational room in Sturgeon House residence
September 25, 2023
3 mins read

You don’t need to go to Jump Start to make friends

When I saw the application link for Jump Start as a high school senior, I applied immediately.

I had read so many stories about how Jump Start was a cornerstone for first years that I knew I had to attend. To my dismay, I ended up having to miss Jump Start due to a scheduling conflict—and I worried that I had missed an important opportunity to find community at UBC. Little did I know that not attending Jump Start would not mean the end of my social life at university. 

Jump Start is held every year during the last week of August. However, some students are unable to attend for a range of reasons including cost, family or job obligations, and varsity commitments. So if you’re one of the many students who’ve had to miss an orientation, don’t worry! I’ve got a few pointers to help you break the ice and meet other students. 

Don’t let FOMO get you

I remember feeling a sense of FOMO when I saw the Jump Start posts on social media, but that feeling quickly disappeared once I started to connect with other students. Rest assured that while you may not have gotten the guidance of orientation leaders, you can still turn to your day-to-day community to find answers, support, and make friends. So take a deep breath and keep in mind that this is only the beginning. You will find your community and make a place for yourself at UBC.

Engage with your day-to-day communities 

Our day-to-day activities at UBC can consist of time spent in classrooms, labs, residences, rec facilities, and more…which opens up the door to connecting with many like-minded people. If you live in residence, take advantage of social events hosted by Residence Life staff and strike up conversations in common spaces like the dining hall, lounges, or even hallways. Check out this Residence Life blog post for insider tips on connecting with people in residence. 

As students, we spend most (or maybe not enough) time in lecture halls and classes. This means you have ample time to greet neighbors or talk with other students in the course. Trust me, making friends in class is key to making coursework feel less painful–and it helps to have a study buddy or two.

The truth is, it’s in the mundane activities that we find the people we’ll end up crossing paths with the most. So if you haven’t introduced yourself to your neighbour in class or residence yet, let this be your encouragement to take that leap.

Two students sitting together at a lunch table in the Open Kitchen dining hall while giggling and chatting

Seek out common-interest communities 

When I started looking for communities that aligned with my interests, I was super excited to see I had so many choices. I started with the AMS Campusbase, an online platform that lists all of UBC’s clubs and associations. This is a great place to find activities or topics of interest, like painting, poetry, anime, or acapella—or maybe it’ll give you an idea for something completely new to try.

You can also connect with common-interest communities at the AMS Clubs Fair. This multi-day event showcases clubs on campus and is a great opportunity for students to explore their interests. Following your interests in a club can help you meet other like-minded students and build your community.

The bottom line

While orientations are a great way to meet other students, I promise they will not be your only chance to connect! There are many paths to take in university to meet people who may become lifelong friends — why limit yourself to just one?