It\’s dorm move-in day your freshman year and you really hit it off with the person in the room next door (who you have so much in common with). You think, \”Wow. I bet we\’ll be friends forever.\” It\’s a nice thought, but is it likely?
The first two years of college are generally spent in the dorms surrounded by what become familiar faces. As junior and senior year approach, people move to different areas, groups split, new friendships are formed and some leave for an internship or to study abroad – all resulting in new circumstances for friendships to either thrive, or sometimes, to drift apart.
Here\’s a peek at the experiences of a handful of students (chances are you can relate to at least one), and the different ways people on campus make – and break – friendships.
First meet The Risk Taker. Last year while students were finding people to live with, investigating off-campus houses and apartments and signing leases, Michelle Cox, an art junior, was going through the drawn-out dorm resident mentor selection process. When her application was rejected February of her sophomore year, she quickly began searching for someone to live with, which is not an easy task so late in the semester.
Luck was not on her side when the woman she was supposed to rent an apartment with declined to sign the lease. Frantically, Cox asked many friends for advice. Some people pointed her in the direction of “I found three to four houses that I could live in,” said Cox.
The first house she visited was the one Cox narrowed her search to and now lives in with three other roommates. “They are all from the same high school and I don’t feel like an outcast or anything,” she said. “We have a really good time.”
Cox had problems with past roommates partying till the wee hours of the morning and not communicating with her in the dorm. Luckily moving in with three complete strangers has worked out very well for her.
“I wasn’t set on the first people I met in college being people I stayed [friends] with for a long time,” said Cox. “Ever since the first day [of college] I knew that wasn’t going to work.” She came to this realization when she moved to Ann Arbor from Southern Indiana and didn’t stay in contact with friends. So when she came to MSU, she knew she wasn’t going to keep in touch with many of the friends she met along the way. “I’m fine to do things by myself and I like to explore things.” [butterfly]
Not everyone could have thrived in such a situation. Perhaps The Social Butterfly could have, yet he took a completely different route. When packaging junior Dennis Lapointe first came to MSU, he thought joining a fraternity would be the right direction for him to go. “I wanted to get socially interacted with everybody, experience different things and people, meet some girls and party.”
Lapointe looked at three different fraternity houses until he came across one that really sparked his interest. “They had a lot of social activities,” he said. “Busses to Canada, rented out clubs, had formal dances and one-on-ones with sororities.”
Lapointe experienced his freshman year of college in a very social manner, which was what he was looking for at the time. After a year of fraternizing, Lapointe decided he needed a change. With his grade point average well below his usual effort, something needed rearranging. “People in [the fraternity] had their own separate cliques,” he said. “It just got to be too much; too much drama, too expensive, too separated from people, and then I met a girl, so I didn’t really need the frat to help me meet girls.”
After letting go of the fraternity life, Lapointe thought, since he worked in the dorms, it would be easier for him to continue living there his sophomore and junior year. “I didn’t have to worry about bills, traveling to work, and it was convenient.”
Lapointe does not have a concrete group of friends. “I think you make friends in your classes,” he said. “But as the semesters change you tend to not talk to them unless you have the same major and all the same classes. I stayed friends with a couple people, but most of them I didn’t. Every time the semester changes I meet new people.”
[hfriends] Unlike Lapointe, The Group, composed of eight women that met their freshman year, have stuck together. For this group of students, living on the same floor with a bunch of new and friendly faces turned out to be the group of true friends education junior Kerianne Jo Sherwood thought she’d never have.
“When we first met we were all really scared and we didn’t know anyone, and I think that beginning bond where we just depended on each other was really good, and from that we all became close,” said Sherwood. “From that, for me, I realized I never really had a lot of true friends, and I think living in college and depending on yourself and your friends more than your family, you see who your true friends are.”
Sherwood became close friends with the eight girls (me being one of them) on her floor freshman year so much so they have lived together for the past three years. “I think we are very lucky in the sense that I don’t know of many people who have lived with the same people for three years that you’ve just met,” said Sherwood. “It is rare that you find true friends on the same floor. I think it is cool it happened in college.”
Sherwood considers her junior year one of the toughest years of their friendship so far. Three of the eight are not living together in the same house, but things have worked out. “I thought it would be a lot worse,” said Sherwood. “I still feel close to [the girls not living in the house]. It’s like we have two more houses. It’s worked out really well.”
Georgia Stamatopoulos, psychology junior, is also in this close group of friends and is one of the girls not living in the house. “I am happy with the fact that I don’t live in a house with all of my friends, because I like to come and visit and have my own time,” she said. “We were really lucky and had a really good connection on our floor. We didn’t want to separate from living together, but why would you want to separate a good thing?”
Lastly, The Graduate, is in a place that all undergraduates will likely be once they complete their four (five, or six) glorious college years. [grad]
Patrick Fay recently graduated from MSU and is now working hard to pursue his career, away from his college friends.
Fay was lucky enough to meet his close group of friends on the same floor freshman year as well. Now that the college years are over, the realization that they are growing up is sinking in.
“The ones I’m closest to I definitely keep in a lot of contact with,” said Fay. “We don’t see each other as much as we used to, but we still see each other at least once a month, maybe more.”
With two of his “boys” moving away from Michigan soon, the reality of seeing them once a year instead of once a month is starting to set in.
“It takes effort to keep friendship[s] going if you aren’t really seeing the people,” said Fay. “We are gonna try and organize something where we get together once a year, whether it is for homecoming or something.”

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