For the majority of first-time college students, the transition into higher education can be as exhilarating as it is nerve-wrecking. Challenging courses, exciting social events, delicious (or barely palatable) dining hall food and communal showers are all expected parts of the typical college experience.
But of all these components of a college education, perhaps the most important is housing — specifically, who you will be living with for the next year.
A good roommate can be a source of fun, support and encouragement, someone who gives you a feeling of community and comfort. Conversely, a poorly-matched roommate can lead to hostility, awkwardness and a negative impression of your new home.
To avoid the latter, it is best that students personally indicate with whom they’d like to room or be carefully matched by the College.
My initial impression of my roommate is different than it is today. I’ve always known we’d get along but I didn’t have a clue how well.
I can’t recall the amount of times we’ve been asked, “Did you guys know each other before coming here?” No, we didn’t.
Well, not quite. Thanks to Facebook, prior to our move-in day, we’d met virtually, had some conversations, shared our interests, hopes and expectations. We eventually decided to room together.
Though I decided to choose my own roommate, mostly out of fear I’d be matched with a roommate from hell. Many of the friends I made at Spring Open Campus were brave enough to do allow random rooming assignments.
For most, it worked out well. The majority of them at least got along with their roommate, were on decent terms and had natural conversations, though never spent much time together otherwise. A few weren’t very fond of their roommates.
Of the latter, I’ve witnessed friends actively steer clear of their own rooms or desperately hope their roommates weren’t home in order to avoid awkward exchanges.
Poor matches can be made when students choose their own roommate based on dishonest self descriptions, whether intentional or otherwise.
If both parties are completely honest and upfront, finding a good match is plausible. The decision to go through roommate assignment or to choose your roommate is dependent upon what you are looking for in your roommate.
If you have a lot of expectations and want a strong bond with your roommate, it’s best to choose for yourself since you know yourself better than anyone else. If you’re not looking for a best friend in a roommate or are open to anything, random assignments are the better option.
Even if you’re a “loner” or prefer to be in a single, a roommate is essential during your first year of college. They’re almost always your first friend. You’ll have more of a greater sense of community and will be glad to know that someone else is as nervous as you are.
Picking your roommate or being carefully matched by the College seems to be the best option, in my perspective. There are many different personalities here at Wellesley — some that will harmonize and others that’ll combust upon interaction.
My roommate is perhaps one of the reasons I love my new home as much as I do. We sing at the top of our lungs, I make fun of her slight accent, she threatens to throw me out almost daily and we revel in locking each other out. Sure, my friends who chose random matching have good times too, but we’re definitely taking the award for Roommates of the Year.