‘Focused on the game…’ (Kapoutsis, 2009).

Whether it’s your first time on campus at Leeds, or you’re back after a long break, it’s going to take time to get to know people on your course.  If you’re new to university you will also quickly realise that you’re going to meet a lot of fellow students and the faces in your taught classes might be different each day depending on which modules you’re studying. 

A lot of socialising takes place online and it’s fair to say that the pandemic has made this even more of a trend than it was before.  Seeing a few people face to face, however, can be a great way to ease stress, make connections and develop friendships.  As it can feel a bit awkward to spontaneously invite people that you don’t know for a coffee, you can use a study group as a way to do this.   

Study groups aren’t to everyone’s taste, but even if you don’t think you’ll enjoy it, give one a go if you’re invited to join one on your course.  If you want to form a study group, you could do that informally by asking people directly, or if you’re feeling brave, ask one of your academic staff if you could have 2 minutes of their next lecture to ask people to contact you if they’d like to join your study group.

Need some conversation starters?  Judging by the vast number of lists of conversation starters online, this is something that a lot of us struggle with in daily life.  The nice thing about a study group is that it gives your conversations a focus and purpose, so think of a few to kick things off and get your discussions started.  Some ideas might be:  

What did you think of the lecture this week? 

Have you read x yet? 

Did you know anything about this topic before? 

I’m not sure I understood x, how about you? 

At the end of your study group session, you could invite people back again another day, form a WhatsApp group or suggest a coffee next time.  If your group isn’t successful, don’t let that put you off, there are so many students on campus that persistence will pay off!


Kapoutsis, K. 2009. ‘Focused on the game…’ [Online]. [Accessed 07 October 2021]. Available from http://www.flickr.com