It is normal to feel nervous about living with a new roommate in college. Whether it is a friend or a randomly assigned person, they say you don’t know really know someone until you’ve lived with them.
Cassie Zentner, recent Norwin High School (Pennsylvania) graduate will be starting school at Oberlin College (Ohio) later this year. She is happy with her choice to be randomly paired with a roommate by the school. “I think if I knew the person too well we might drive each other crazy and not be friends anymore,” said Cassie.
Most new students take a survey from the university to help match roommates with similar living styles. While the surveys are usually pretty basic, they can help keep opposites apart. Someone who describes themselves as a dedicated student who goes to bed early probably wouldn’t appreciate a roommate who invites guests over every night of the week. Cassie took her survey and felt it was sufficient, but says she won’t really know if it worked until she lives with her future roommate.
Don’t believe all the horror stories you hear about living with a freshman year roommate. Liza Shields, graduate of University of Virginia recently attended the baby shower of her roommate she met her first year. “We didn’t live together after freshman year, but stayed in touch with weekly dinners” shared Liza. Despite the fact she knew ten other students who were planning on going to the same university she still chose to be paired with someone she had never met. “I thought if I roomed with someone I knew I would be a lot less likely to make new friends,” said Liza.
Faisal Hamadi a student from Saudi Arabia chose to study at Michigan State University. His freshman roommate was a Dairy Agricultural major who came home smelling like a farm most days. While they had little in common and didn’t form a friendship it still was an experience to learn from. When asked what advice he would give an international student about roommates this is what he said “Remember that your roommate doesn’t have to be your best fiend, you just need to be able to respect each other and share a living space.”
Often the best roommates are the ones who you can spend time away from. Just keep an open mind and remember that in the worse case scenario you can meet new people and find a new roommate later.
With all of the forms of communication we have today, it’s much easier to reach out to your future roommate too. Send an email and start the discussion. You can talk about classes or why you both you chose the same school. If your university does not rent fridges or microwaves you might want to talk about sharing those items or splitting costs. Remember that they are just as nervous to meet and talk to you. Just be yourself and let the conversation begin.
Hannah DeMilta is a senior at Otterbein College studying Public Relations with a minor in Deaf Culture and Language (ASL). She has studied abroad in Australia and loves traveling whenever possible. She has held several internships in the PR & communications field and hopes to work in the non-profit sector one day. She also loves speaking with students interested in studying abroad, so please feel free to start a conversation: http://www.linkedin.com/in/hannahdemilta