To Room or Not to Room | Frances Chai
With commitment day quickly approaching, another far more sinister deadline is quick on its heels: the housing application deadline. Although certain university decision dates have been pushed back, the due date to apply for housing has remained largely unchanged, leaving hundreds of stressed out seniors scrambling to secure roommates. To make matters worse, some schools operate on a “first come, first serve” basis, increasing the pressure to seal the deal with someone you talked to for five minutes over Instagram DM (not to mention the only reason you DM’d them in the first place was because they had a picture of a cute dog on their Class of ‘25 Instagram post and you were desperate).
I am proud to say that I have survived the process, managing to come out on the other side relatively unscathed and with a roommate. Here are some lessons that I learned along the way:
Don’t Romanticize Roommates
I know we’re all keen to have our main character college moments, and being “ride or die” best friends with your roommate definitely falls under this category. While high standards are definitely important to have, it’s also important to keep in mind that it’s hard for someone to compress their entire personalities into one Instagram or Facebook post. Even if it might not seem like you two will be best friends based on a short blurb on interests and sleep schedules, don’t let that deter you from reaching out! Who knows, they could surprise you and you could be the main character in a coming-of-age movie after all.
Be (a tiny bit) Selfish
It’s a given that everyone is talking to a few people at once –– casting a wide net increases the likelihood of you finding a roommate. But what happens when you find someone you’d like to be roommates with but you’re still talking to someone else? Don’t agree to be dorm with them out of feelings of obligation, especially if you don’t connect with them as well as you connect with other people you’ve been talking to. It’s way better to nicely tell them that you’ve found someone else, but you’d still like to be friends with them. I assure you, they’ll completely understand and appreciate the honesty over being ghosted out of the blue.
It’s Okay to be Awkward
Obviously, you’re not going to be able to talk to someone you just met like you talk to your close friends who have been with you for years. It’s okay and completely understandable to have lulls in conversation and phases of small talk because everyone is in the same boat of wanting to meet new people. Also, it is important to keep in mind that you most likely don’t come across as awkward as you feel.
Have Fun and Keep an Open Mind (to a certain extent)
After more than a year in quarantine, we’ve gotten used to only being able to talk to our family members and close friends. When was the last time you actually got to meet someone new? The Great Roommate Search ™ is the perfect opportunity to talk to new people from across the country (and even across the world). Be open minded but also be clear with yourself and others on things you don’t want to budge on. Don’t agree to be roommates with someone knowing that you’ll be sacrificing your beliefs or values.