Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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Making and Maintaining Friendships Post COVID-19

Jacob Gifford
Friends reconnect at the Frozen River Film Festival on February 11, 2024.

Making friends has always been challenging for many people, but recent world events have made things even more difficult. Almost four years ago, COVID-19 forced us all into lockdown, and thus, isolation. For about a year and a half, possibly more or less depending on where you lived, we were all forced to do distant or hybrid learning, and it became much more difficult to stay in touch with friends and see them in person. Now that the pandemic is over, have college students gotten the relationship skills they may have lost?

Those who were freshmen in high school when COVID first hit are now freshmen in college, and here’s what some of them had to say when asked about making friendships at college after COVID.

“Making and maintaining friendships is a skill that needs practice. Just finding things to talk about is more difficult after COVID,” Student A said.

“I’m already an introvert so I didn’t have too many friends, and the friends that I had I was able to keep. I made most of my friends after COVID,” Student B said.

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“It was hard to socialize because I was so used to being an introvert. I now like being alone, I’m sure it was the cause of COVID,” Student C said.

While all three of these Winona State University freshmen wish to remain anonymous, they each still have interesting things to say. The first quote is likely relatable to many people. There wasn’t much to talk about during COVID other than what was on the news and online media. Now that news is three to four years old, and not everyone likes the same media. It’s much easier to find communities for specific things online, so switching to trying to find somebody with shared interests in real life is difficult.

The second quote has a more positive outlook. COVID and the lockdowns were likely easier for most introverts than extroverts, so it would make sense that it affected their social ability less. I can personally relate to this, as I was more introverted in high school, and I was able to keep my core friends. I also made many of my closest friends here at Winona State, and I only talk to a select few people from my high school now.

The last quote is also about being an introvert, but with a different take. I’m sure many introverts and even ambiverts and extroverts were pushed more towards the introverted end of the spectrum due to being forced to be alone more. While being able to entertain yourself and enjoy your own company is important, so is being able to build and maintain relationships, and it has been harder to keep that balance post-COVID.

In Summary, COVID has changed many people’s approaches to relationships, including students here at Winona State. While it impacted many people’s social skills for the worse, not everybody struggled as much. Hopefully, those who had an easier time during COVID can help those who found the isolation more difficult, and everyone can continue to build and maintain friendships in college after COVID.

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About the Contributors
Lexy Koenig
Lexy Koenig, Features Reporter
Lexy Koenig (she/her/hers) is a features writer for The Winonan who started this semester. Lexy is a first-year at Winona State who is majoring in psychology and minoring in sociology. Besides working for The Winonan, Lexy likes playing video games such as Pokemon, Minecraft, Mario Kart, Animal Crossing, and Undertale, among others. She also loves spending time with friends, whether it’s playing video games, board games, watching bad movies together, or going on late-night adventures to Kwik Trip and Taco Bell.
Jacob Gifford
Jacob Gifford, Features Writer

Jacob Gifford (They/He) is a photographer and a features writer for the Winonan and started in fall 2023. Jacob is in his third year at Winona State and is studying Psychology with a minor in Philosophy and Women, Gender, and Sexuality studies.

Besides working for The Winonan, Jacob is also the Vice president of Philosophy Club at Winona State.

In his free time, Jacob enjoys hanging out with friends, longboarding, playing videogames, and writing and playing music. Jacob also enjoys going to concerts of local bands.

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