College friendships are special. College students often become very close with one another quickly—Shared experiences lead to memories, and there is nothing quite like the bond of a good memory. The shared experiences and memories of college life also form a great foundation for new friendships after college.
“Graduates who stay engaged with their university are provided many opportunities to continue to form college-like friendships.”
You may no longer be able to stay up until 11pm to meet friends for breakfast at your favorite fast food place, but college memories can still be made and shared well after you receive your diploma. Alumni from your university span many ages, interests, and professions; your alma mater is a shared connection that can be used to build unique, new friendships.
Make New Connections
I am fairly new to the alumni relations field, but over the past two years I have observed the formation of many “college friendships” between alumni, and even among alumni and current students. During an alumni event in another state, a group of graduates bonded over their love of the school’s campus, traditions, faculty, staff, and the dining hall’s pizza. Though their time at the university spanned a spectrum of years and their college experiences were not identical, special friendships were formed over a common love for their alma mater. Two graduates who volunteered to serve at an event through the school’s alumni association found that they not only had the university as a commonality but were also experiencing similar hardships. After meeting at this event, the two graduates became close friends.
Alumni who return to campus frequently make connections with current students. A graduate of over 50 years and a senior college student developed a friendship this spring over a shared college leadership opportunity. Just as the friendships made during your four (or five, or six) years of college are special, friendships developed through your alma mater hold great potential. Participating in university and alumni events as a graduate is also a great platform for professional networking. Both employers and those seeking employment can benefit from returning to campus for an event, or attending an alumni event in their area. LinkedIn can serve as a networking tool for graduates of the same school, but it cannot provide valuable face-to-face interactions. Graduates receive face-to-face networking opportunities through their school’s alumni association and university events.
There are many ways to stay connected with your alma mater. A quality education is not the only long-lasting benefit of your university. I encourage you to seek opportunities to build new friendships through your college as an alumnus.