• Jason Wheeler

UBC Jumpstart 2020 Tips & Advice [Online] | How to Make Friends During Orientation [UBC Jumpstart]

UBC Jumpstart is like a feeding frenzy for first years trying to make friends, and even though things are now online everyone is still on the hunt to make new connections at this brand new place. Having done Jumpstart during my first year and been an Orientation Leader for the last 2 years, I would say that I have a decent idea of what works for students and what doesn’t. So in this article I’m going to share all my tips and advice for 1st years taking part in UBC Jumpstart 2020, and for 1st year students entering their first year in general. 

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1. Make a group chat & add each other’s socials

Your OTL’s should honestly be the ones initiating this, but in the rare case they haven’t, bring it up at your next meeting. Everyone else is thinking the same thing and having this group chat will be a super nice resource for you once the year gets going. Also start an Instagram handle chain, everyone wants to gain followers and is waiting for someone to initiate this. Be the hero your team needs.

2. Make friends with people in your standard timetable

This one only applies to certain faculties that have standard timetables so just skip ahead if you don’t. For people in the same STT you will be spending the rest of the year in most of your classes with the same people. It is SO important to try to get close, or at least be friendly with these people. These are likely the people that you will continue to be ‘friends’ with for the remainder of your first year and second year (until you split off into different specializations). Benefits of having friends in the same STT are:

  • “Collaborate” on assignments, quizzes and even exams

  • Having friends that you can sit next to (once classes are back in person)

  • Can send you notes for classes you miss

  • Will be spending lots of time with them in classes and might develop into real friendships

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3. Don’t try too hard in the asynchronous stuff (work smart not hard)

Nothing at Jumpstart is for marks. Let me say that again. Nothing at Jumpstart is for marks. So don’t go wasting your time making sure you perfectly complete all the assigned modules and assignments. I can guarantee you that these will not affect your future at UBC whatsoever. You honestly don’t even have to do them if you don’t want to. I would personally just look at the ones that look interesting or look important, and then only read those ones. 

4. Be Yourself (don’t try to be “cool”)

This one may seem like a no-brainer, and you may be thinking “ya no shit”, but I cannot stress enough that UBC is such a big place and no matter what your interests/hobbies are, there will be people just like you – you just need to find them. And you’ll never find people that you really vibe with if you’re not being yourself. 

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5. University is a time you can reinvent yourself however you want

This point may coincide a little bit with point #3, but if you didn’t like who you were known as during high school you can completely change your personal image at university. No one knows who you are, and you don’t know who anyone else was, meaning it is the perfect opportunity to show people what you want them to see. This may sound a little shallow but it all depends on how you interpret it. For example in my case, I was a shy person in highschool with very few friends. During my first semester I threw myself out there and acted as if I were some sort of extrovert. The great thing was, this didn’t seem out of the ordinary to anyone, because no one knew who I was before coming into UBC. 

6. Keep your mic on during meetings

Unless you have some construction going on in your bedroom or a batshit crazy mother who's always screaming, I strongly recommend leaving your mic unmuted as it will allow for much more natural and comfortable conversation within large groups and smaller ones. 

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7. Stick around during breaks / show up to sessions early

One of the hardest parts about online jumpstart is getting those valuable 1 on 1 interactions. One way you can try to put yourself in those situations is to show up early or stay late and have that quick casual conversation with a fellow student. Obviously this isn’t ideal, but with everything online desperate times call for desperate measures. 

8. Find the in-between for sharing about yourself & bragging

Sharing about yourself is a necessary and substantial part about Jumpstart and getting to know your peers. There is however a fine line between letting people in on who you are, and rubbing in people’s faces how much better you are than them. Obviously being proud of your accomplishments is natural and is understood by everyone, but just make sure you pick and choose the right time to share that information. For example, sharing that you have a very successful start up business is great to share during stuff where someone asks what’d you do all summer, or during 2 truths 1 lie; however, it is not a good time to share where you have to force it out. 

  • “Oh what’d you have for breakfast?”

  • “Oh I had some nice avocado toast cause its good for your skin, cause I actually started my own skincare company this summer and I’ve been spending a lot of time doing that”

That may seem really dumb and far fethced, but that is almost word for word something that I’ve heard a student say before (company and breakfast food changed for anonymity sake, but you get the point). My example is a bit of an extreme one, but just be mindful that there is a distinct difference. 

9. Start conversations

Everyone is at jumpstart for the same reason. To talk and make friends. Most people are naturally shy in a new setting, and so when you’re in those smaller groups, saying literally anything can help break the ice. You can ask the dumbest question ever but people will just be glad to start talking and have something to speak to you about. Just break the ice and the conversation will take off from there. Fan favourite conversation starters tend to be:

“Where are you guys from?”

“Have you guys already done that Comm 101 assignment”

“Soooo you guys like dogs?”

“What electives are you taking this year?”

“Did you read that sick caps off article earlier? No? Oh I’ll send it to you!”

More or less those are some of the general tips that I have for not only surviving Jumpstart, but also making the most of the situation and hopefully coming out with some genuine friends. Trust in the process and as long as you keep putting yourself out there, you will come out with tons of new connections and possibly even some long-lasting friends. Hopefully you’ll all have a great time with jumpstart and have a great rest of your year!

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