Uni Life

The 7 Stages of a UON Friendship

Making real friends at uni is about as easy as having to switch between APA and Harvard referencing with every assignment. Claire Ince gets real about all of the awkward phases of forming friendships at UON.

Over my time at UON, I’ve made (and failed at making) quite a few friends, and in the process, have observed a bit of a pattern.

In every single successful case, the friendships have seemed to go through several unique, unavoidable stages – and if you’ve ever made a friend here, I’m sure you’ll recognise every one of them.

Stage 1: “Hey… um… do you mind if… I maybe… sit with you?”

After exchanging a few knowing glances when your lecturer pulls the classic “I’m not a regular teacher, I’m a cool teacher”, or when a member of your class makes a problematic comment, one of you makes the executive decision to approach the other.

Should the other accept the offer, an unspoken agreement consisting of the following rules immediately comes into effect:

  1. You save each other a seat
  2. You give each other extremely positive feedback in the class discussion following your presentations to impress your tutor
  3. You work together in every single class activity

Stage 2: The Awkward Lunch

After a few weeks of accompanying each other in class, you will inevitably progress to visiting the Shortland building for a parma deal and some choccy milk.

Neither of you actually verbally ask the other to have lunch with you – it sort of just awkwardly happens.

Points of conversation during said lunch may include (but are not limited to):

  1. Which high school you went to and what it was like
  2. The weather
  3. UON’s wildlife
  4. How long it typically takes you to find a park on campus
  5. How much of your first assessment you’ve done (spoiler alert: neither of you have started)

Stage 3: Opening Up

After the first awkward lunch, you decide to make hanging out on campus a regular thing.

Over the course of a few weeks, your conversations about UON’s mosquito population come to an end, and you start moving into the deep category.

You talk about your crushes, nasty habits, theories about life, and complain about everything that you feel is wrong with the world.

Stage 4: “What are we?”

Once week 10 hits, a seed of doubt is planted, and you start overanalysing the entire situation.

“Are we REAL friends? Or are we just uni friends?”

“Am I supposed to refer to them as my friend while talking to other people?”

“Do I invite them to my birthday party, or would that be too weird?”

“Did I somehow force them into hanging out with me?”

“What if they actually dislike me, but are too scared to say so?”

Stage 5: The Exam Period Breakdown

Whether you have exams or a bucket load of assessments, there’s a fair chance that at some point, you’ll be stuck in a spiral of uni-related stress- so why go it alone?

The exam period is really where true friendships are formed.

You laugh together.

You cry together.

You complain about the structure of the course together.

You work together to calculate how many marks you need to get the grade you want instead of studying together.

It’s really a rite of passage for every uni friendship.

Stage 6: The Celebration

As soon as Turnitin has processed your submissions and you walk out of your final exam, it’s time to hit Bar on the Hill for one big PAR-TAY (or take a gigantic nap and hit each other up on Messenger a week later).

Stage 7: The Choice

Once uni break kicks in, you’re presented with one of two situations.

Option 1: Catch up regularly throughout your time off and plan your enrolment for the remainder of the degree so that you will never have to face uni apart.

Option 2: Limit your interaction to liking each other’s Facebook profile pictures and tipping your hat should you see each other in a corridor somewhere.

Either way, rest assured that your friendship (in whatever capacity) will last for a very long time.

As cheesy as it is to say, uni can truly be the best years of your life, and like your high school crushes, you will never ever forget the people you’ve met along the way- so make the most of the time you have.

Feature image: Devin Avery via Unsplash, no changes made.

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