Don’t fall for the first-year lifelong friendship hype

University friendships get better with time

Image by: Herbert Wang
The most meaningful university friendships happen in the later years.

They say the friends you make in your first year of university will be there for life. While this sounds exciting and wholesome, it may not be entirely true. In my experience, lifelong university friends are the ones we meet later on.

The transition from high school to university provides for a rollercoaster of challenges. You’re thrust into a fast-paced university lifestyle, working tirelessly on assignments to stay ahead of what often feels like an overwhelming amount of work before heading out to the streets to blow off some steam.

The friendships you make during these early days are usually based on shared classes, proximity to your dorm, or chance encounters at social events. Though these early friendships can be fulfilling, provide a sense of belonging, and create an enjoyable experience, they may not stand the test of time.

Like many first years, I was eager to make as many friends as possible and make the most out of my first year. However, I soon realized many of my friendships lacked depth and fizzled out or remained at a superficial level. I discovered over time that deeper, longer lasting friendships tended to develop as I got deeper into my degree.

When progressing through your university journey, several factors come into play that can foster the development of deeper, more meaningful connections.

Personal growth and maturation are significant contributors in my experience making more meaningful bonds. With each passing year and new life experiences, you become more self-aware, resulting in clearer understanding of one’s personal values and interests.

Increased self-awareness leads to a better understanding of the types of people you want to surround yourself with. As a result, you’re able to make connections with those who share your values and interests, ultimately building stronger and longer-lasting friendships.

Maturity allows for better conflict resolution skills, which is essential in building lasting friendships. All friendships experience conflict, and the ability to handle conflict maturely and appropriately on both ends makes for a stronger friendship.

As you progress through your academic journey, you’ll likely encounter more challenges and varied experiences. Whether you’re pulling all-nighters together to meet assignment deadlines, or offering each other support during tough times, shared experiences involve honesty, vulnerability, and trust, which can strengthen the connections you have with your friends.

While it’s true the friendships you make in your first year of university can be special and significant, it’s essential to recognize that lifelong friendships develop as you progress through your academic journey.

As you embark on your university adventure, embrace the friendships of the present, but look forward to the meaningful bonds you’ll forge in the years to come. After all, your university experience is a transformative journey, and the friends you meet along the way will evolve just as you do.


first year, Friendships, University

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