Photo Credit: Toshiyuki IMAI
When going away to college, the first thing most students worry about is their living situation–rightfully, of course. It is completely normal to be concerned about who you’re going to be sharing your personal space with, and who is going to be there during all of those first-year struggles.
Almost every college has a Facebook page or app specifically designed for meeting students and potential roommates, but many encourage utilizing their random-selection housing programs. By filling out a quick survey, the school can match you up with someone who shares your interests, habits, and living style.
The idea of having your school choose who you have to live with for the next semester–or even year–can be pretty scary, especially if you’re not a particularly easy-going person. But, I figured choosing someone myself would be even more stressful. Deep down I thought, if I hand-picked someone and they turned out to suck, it would be all my fault. And being the somewhat passive person that I am, giving the responsibility to someone else just seemed like the best option.
So here I am, one year and one month since moving in with my assigned roomie, looking at her empty desk and waiting for her to get out of class. After over two semesters of living together, Kalie and I have become the best of friends. She is my designated BFSF (best friend soulmate forever), and the one person I could not have made it through freshman year without. Our relationship just worked, and other than sheer luck, here are some of the reasons why:
We didn’t have any expectations.
After our first meeting, at a Target/Starbucks halfway between our houses, Kalie and I still were unsure about each other. We seemed to have a lot in common, but I could tell she was just a little too nice and sheltered, and I was a little to bold and opinionated. Of course I was happy that she seemed “normal,” but I had no plans of becoming her BFF any time soon. After a few weeks at school, we were still unsure if our friendship would evolve, but I don’t think either of us really cared. We both had other people to lean on if we didn’t end up working out.
At the same time, however, friends of ours who chose their own roommates were beginning to have issues. They went into school thinking they already had a best friend, without knowing all the little things would add up sooner or later. Almost all of our friends that hand selected their roomie ended up moving into another room by spring break. By going in blind and sort of testing the waters of our relationship, Kalie and I were able to build a friendship without going in too strong.
Neither of us knew what the heck we were doing.
College is the time where you fly the nest and learn how to do things on your own while simultaneously learning how to live with another person. Your mom/dad/sister/etc. isn’t in the next room for you to complain to, ask for advice, or just talk to when you’re freaking out about something. Luckily, there is a human in the bed next to–or above–you who is probably stressing about the same things. Even if you don’t have the same hobbies or fashion sense, your random roomie can understand what you’re going through. You will always have something to bond over.
We were honest about our issues.
The problem with “friends” before you hit the “best friend” stage is that you are still sensitive to their feelings. A stranger, you can be rude to; a best friend, you can be mean to; a friend, you still have to get to stick around. Many of my classmates that went to school with a friend as a roommate ended up neglecting their problems because they were simply afraid to hurt the other’s feelings. Little things like taking out the trash or picking up a shoe become huge ordeals when you are too scared to just open your mouth. Maybe it was my natural tendency to open my mouth when I had something to say, but with Kalie, I was able to just tell her when something was annoying or problematic. Since we were always getting to know more about each other, learning irritations was just a part of the process.
Our differences helped us grow.
Having a random roommate, even if you aren’t the best of friends, can help you learn how to cope and deal with people you don’t necessarily love. In the workplace there’s always going to be someone different from you that you can’t understand. Living with someone strange is like practice for real life!
More specifically, going into school, I was emotionally and socially unsure of where I stood. Not only was I moving on in life, but so many things were changing for me personally. Never in a million years did I think the random person my college selected for me to live with could cope with my roller coaster life. However, Kalie was just enough like me to see my point of view, and just different enough to give me the perspective I couldn’t see. She has helped me grow exponentially and learn from the mistakes my friends from home had let me make. I like to think that I have helped her, too. If I had found someone who was exactly like me in my search for a roomie, I don’t think I would have made the smart choices that I did this year. Kalie is my conscience and confidante in human form.
Kalie and I still happily live together, along with two other girls [of our choosing].