featuresApril 8, 2024
In college, friendships are more than just social ties- they set the path for relationships throughout the rest of students’ lives. These connections made during college pave the way for friendships and networks that students will carry with them long after graduation.

In college, friendships are more than just social ties- they set the path for relationships throughout the rest of students’ lives. These connections made during college pave the way for friendships and networks that students will carry with them long after graduation.

Not having strong friendships, especially in college, can make students feel isolated and alone.

Psychology Professor Jessica Bishop warns that being alone too much can hurt student's mental health. However, students can combat isolation by putting themselves out there and getting involved in campus life.

“Getting involved gets you out of your room, it gets you involved with other people. It keeps you active. This feeling that you belong, that there’s something out there for you, I think that’s super important,” Bishop said.

The connections students form in college influence not only social interactions but other things like career opportunities, personal growth and connections that will last the rest of student’s lives. College friendships serve as a cornerstone for lifelong relationships.

One way to forge meaningful connections is by taking advantage of support systems. Every group a student is a part of becomes their support system, whether that's people in their classes, dorms or extracurriculars.

There are benefits to forging relationships with people who have the same common interests as you. This can include being friends with people in your major.

Senior Hospitality Management major Samatha Snider said that becoming friends with people in her major allowed her to meet people with common goals.

“As I got into more specific classes for my major, I was able to form more personal, deep friendships with people who share a common career interest. Being friends with people who share common values and care about growing as a person and their education has really helped me thrive.” Snider said.

Snider also had the opportunity to take part in a study abroad program with other students in her major, which allowed her to form a deeper connection with the students she traveled with.

“My roommate was in most of my hospitality classes, and we really became better friends on that trip. We got to experience Germany together, and it was really awesome to be able to get to know her as a person and broaden our friendship,” Snider said.

But there are also benefits to being friends with people outside of your major or classes, people with different interests. These students have different perspectives, and having a multitude of people with different interests can broaden student’s awareness of the world around them.

Freshman Computer Science major Akiburrahman Rakin said that having friends outside his major allows him to learn more about other subjects.

“Having the same major just means you might talk academically more. So having friends with more majors lets you consult them if you want to change your major,” Rakin said.

The most important thing is finding your community. Bishop said that finding your tribe can only happen if you put yourself out there and get involved.

“Just knowing that there’s other people like you, that have the same interests and ideas, if you don’t have that, you won’t want to explore it as much. But if you find those other people, you learn more, you get involved more, it becomes more important to you,” Bishop said.

The key to maintaining meaningful friendships is commitment.

Snider said that friendships in college are more important to maintain and commit to if they are positive.

“Friendships I’ve made in college are more about respecting each other’s boundaries and time and energy. You’ve already established who you are as a person, and even though you’re still learning and growing, it's in a way that is more mature. It’s important to make sure you’re not continuing friendships with people who don’t want the best for you, and I’ve learned meaningful relationships require dedication and respect for one another,” Snider said.

Balancing academic and social life can be tricky, but both are important components of surviving college. Academic life won’t stop because you want to participate in social activities, but there is a balance to keeping up the two.

Rakin said that you need to prioritize both equally to find the balance.

“Academic life is always there, you just have to keep both academic and social life a priority,” Rakin said.