What makes an incredible college friend?

Sitting in the cafeteria I stared blankly across the table. Three others just survived an insane biology test. All of us possessed the confidence of some academic success in high school but a college biology test challenged everything. Coming up with reasons to laugh  helped us forget the brutality of Dr Goff’s biology exam.
 How could I have known that lunch conversation would change my life?

You see, those friends came to form the pillars of my life! They influenced all the major choices I made for the next decade. They enabled the majority of what successes I have experienced in life.

I believe associating yourself with great friends in college will set you up for stable, healthy success in life. 

Yesterday we drove to Shakamak state park. Eleven friends from college camped near us since we couldn’t travel much with Isabelle. 10 years out of Indiana Weslyan University we try to get together about once a year. While our collected children ran around we enjoyed hours of stories and laughter. 

Today they drove to share dinner at our house. We gathered every chair in the house plus plus deck chairs to pack them into our kitchen. A dinner of lasagna and broccoli only served as an excuse to enjoy four hours of stories and gut wrenching laughter. 

For 36 hours now a question lurked in my head as I sat around campfires and with friends. It stuck with me like the smell of campfire from yesterday’s cookout. I couldn’t quite clarify it until now. Let me try here:

What made our group of friends so strong and healthy? Did our incredible group happen by chance or because we all share the same character traits? What makes an incredible college friend?

Looking around I see men and women who have lived life well. Each one remains strong in their faith and stable in their life. One decade since college I have watched many friends lose their faith, jobs, and marriages. Something special marks the friendships I enjoy in this group. 

So, I’m gonna take a stab at clarifying the characteristics of this group of friends. Perhaps in doing that you can see what you might look for in an incredible college friend.

What makes an incredible college friend?

  1. Fun. It did not surprise me whatsoever that I ate dinner with tears of laughter tonight. Describing our history involves many stories of practical jokes, late night fun, and crazy board games. These men and women simply loved fun. Good, clean fun. Look for that in a college friend.
  2. Academics. I write this word knowing we do have youth ministry majors in our group. (For the un-initiated this means not everyone made straight A’s.) Honestly, I lost my 4.0 freshman fall semester. (and never regained it.). Yet in my incredible group of friends there always lived a distinct high view of academics. Each of us (even Jared… Long story) really worked hard in school. Honestly, if you find yourself in college, surround yourself with fun friends who take school seriously.
  3. Faith. So, we all met at a private Christian university. I totally get how that will lend itself to you meeting other people serious about their faith. Yet, our group sorted itself out with the distinctly high value placed on our faith. We did not agree exactly on theology but we all agreed our faith deserved priority. Surround yourself with fun, academically minded friends who take their faith seriously and you will find yourself surprised pleasantly.


I could certainly go on attempting to make a list. We all have shared games and comedians and experience. Those shared things strengthened our friendship. Yet, I think if you find friends with those three characteristics you have just struck gold. I think fun, academics, and faith made for a powerful encouragement in the friends I enjoyed in college. 

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