The power of college friendships

Photo courtesy: American Heart Association

When it comes to navigating the college space, there are many challenges that come your way.

Stepping foot onto a college campus for the first time, away from the comforts of home, is not the easiest thing to do. It’s a rite of passage that goes well beyond textbooks, lectures and parties.

There are so many people that you meet. The friendships and bonds you create have the power to shape your overall experience.

At the heart of it all, humans really love being social beings. Friendships are just the icing on the cake when it comes to having a blissful life. True friendship is when you have someone you can count on, talk to about your problems, or even just being there when you need them.

Many would agree that college friendships have a huge impact on your success. This not only applies in the academic world, but throughout your professional experience as well.

Vivienne Friday, program director at Goodwin University, believes that friendship is a key component in the life and longevity of college students.

“Supportive interactions with peers can influence overall academic development, knowledge acquisition, and self-esteem,” Friday said. “Having valuable college friendships during your undergraduate or graduate career can also result in improved social life, a successful, satisfying education, and sought-after career opportunities.”

For many years, schools have always measured students’ success based solely on their academic performance. But success in college goes far beyond the grades. If students are able to connect with the right individuals and form genuine bonds, their chances of being successful are much higher. Through forming connections many students tend to discover great mentors or even study buddies.

Research has shown that when students find study buddies and become friends they perform better academically.

Chloe Inskeep, a first-generation student at the University of Iowa, shared her strategy for making connections even when her class size matched her hometown’s population.

“Lots of students go to class and then they leave or log out as soon as it ends. For me, just staying after a little bit to chat with other people really helps me find people who I have something in common with,” Inskeep said.

There are many things you can do to build some of these friendships while in your academic space. Some may include working on group projects with one another, completing discussion boards to share opinions with one another, or even sitting with someone who has a different ethnic background. Taking part in these opportunities opens new doors.