Point/Counterpoint | Do you make ‘real friends’ in college?

Opinions Editor Sophia Meador and Opinions Columnist Elise Cagnard debate whether you can make ‘real friends’ in college.

October 18, 2022


It is a well-accepted fact that college can be one of the most transformative periods of your life. For the first time, you are independent.

Showing up at college, students are ready to make memories and discover who they are without the influence of their childhood home.

It makes sense that the people you meet during this period become cherished lifelong friends.

If they are there for you during possibly the most irresponsible and careless period of your life, chances are are they’ll be there for you through life. In fact, a study by the Elon Center found that 79 percent of college graduates found their closest friend in college.

Later in life, there will of course be ample opportunities to make friends, but never as frequently or abundantly as in college.

College offers chances to socialize in ways that might not be so readily available in the future, such as joining clubs or getting involved in Greek Life.

This is one of the last periods of our lives that we are in constant communication with people going through shared life experiences.

Classes or events are also easy and convenient ways to make friends, and it likely won’t be presented to university graduates again.

That’s not to say every person you meet is going to be in your wedding party, but there is a reason that wedding parties so often contain college friends.


College is often thought to be the place where you find “your people.”

But that is not always the case. Despite what college tour guides and freshmen visiting their hometowns say, college is not the big social party it is made to appear.

Greek Life, student organizations, and campus events are advertised as the best ways to meet people. But this is not the reality for everyone.

In June, the Higher Education Policy Institute reported one in four college students felt lonely all or most of the time.

In my experience, I have been fortunate to find a small group of friends who I consider real friends — meaning I anticipate our friendships to last beyond college. While I found a group of close friends in college, I did not meet them through campus activities.

I met most of my close friends working an off-campus part-time job. Some of these people are University of Iowa students, others are not.

This is not to say it is impossible to make real friends in college. In fact, the columnist to my left is my roommate and one of my closest friends. Although we met in college, our friendship was formed through mutual friends.

If you’re a student struggling to form strong friendships, know you are not alone. Plenty of people do not make their lifelong friends in college, and that’s OK. There’s no wrong place or time to make friends.

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