For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Jul 04 2016
by Ashley Flaws

6 Ways Looking for a Roommate is a Lot Like Shopping

By Ashley Flaws - Jul 04 2016
College is a time of adapting, discovering, learning and growing, and whether we like it or not, most of us will have to adapt to living with a new person, discover things about that person that we may or may not like, learn how to get along with them and ultimately grow as a person because of it. For those of us who didn’t want to leave it up to fate to pick our roommate, the process was a long and hard one. It’s really scary to have to pick a roommate to start our college experience off with because it could be kind of a make or break thing, but that is why I am here to explain why the long and daunting roommate process is actually a lot like shopping. Shopping: a beloved hobby to many and also a dreaded activity to some (like me), can at least be appreciated and related to by everyone, so relax and take a look at several ways looking for a roommate is actually a lot like shopping.

1. Sometimes you have to be a little creepy.

Whether at a mall or at a nice boulevard of shops, there are far too many options for us to be able to explore all of them. In order to decide which items are really worth it, we might have to get up close and personal and maybe even press our faces against the display windows to decide if we’d really like to make a purchase. Now, I by no means am recommending that you press your face against your college roommate. I simply mean that in today’s world of technology, you can take a closer look into your potential roommate’s life by stalking them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Does this make you kind of a creep? Yeah, a little, but everyone does it. You can be a lot more certain with your choice of living companion if you first take a closer look into their life.

2. Appearances aren’t everything.

Unfortunately, most of us have had the heartbreaking experience of falling in love with a certain item in a store only to try it on or try it out to realize that it wasn’t nearly as glorious as it appeared. Whether it be a cute sweater that ends up giving you hives or a new video game that did not live up to the hype on its cover, most of us have learned that we can’t make decisions based on appearance alone. Similarly, you can’t make your decision about your college roommate based on a Facebook or Instagram profile. Social media stalking is definitely an important part of the process, but you can’t make your decision before actually getting to know your potential roommate. In some cases, they might not be what you were expecting, or maybe you just don’t think the two of you are as good of a match as it originally appeared. Either way, it doesn’t lessen the quality of the person. It just means that maybe that person isn’t right for you, and both of you would be better off with other people.

3. You might have to try out a couple different options.

I’m almost 100% positive that not a single person can fit into every single thing they ever try on while shopping, so sometimes we have to try on a lot of different options. When searching for a roommate, our ultimate decision won’t always be the first person we started talking to. Throughout the process, we might learn a little more about what kind of person we want to live with, so we will know what to look for after talking to some different people. Whether you do find the perfect fit right away or have to search a little harder, it will all be worth it on move in day.

4. You have to go with your gut.

Sometimes, we might want a purchase to work out so bad that we end up convincing ourselves that we made the right decision, even if we ended up buying a pair of shoes that immediately gave us blisters or a pair of pants that squeezed us in all of the wrong ways. When looking for your roommate, you might find someone that you really want it to work out with, but sometimes you have to accept that things are not meant to be. No matter how much you originally like them, if you come across anything that makes you nervous about living together, you should trust your gut. You can’t force a pair of shoes to fit no matter how cute they are, and you can’t force a roommate relationship to work out if you don’t have much in common to begin with.

5. You have to live with your decision.

In the case of shopping, once you make your purchase, it is pretty final. You spent the money on it, and now it is yours to keep, whether you end up happy or not. Yes, most items can be returned, but then you have to live with knowing you made the wrong decision and without whatever the purchase itself may be. In the case of a roommate, you literally have to live with your decision. You might want to try and find someone who will end up being your new best friend, but your main goal should be to try and find someone that you know you can get along with. If you can get along with someone for an entire year while living in a fairly confined space with them, then the bond will come, but only if you make the right decision early on. Either way, if your roommate doesn’t end up being what you thought, try to make the best of it.

6. Above all else, have fun.

Yes, shopping is necessary to find things we want or need, but it also supposed to be a fun experience that we can enjoy. Most of us have to live with a roommate our first year of college, and looking for the right person can definitely be stressful. However, that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the search. We are only freshmen in college once, and we only get one chance to find the roommate that will kick off our first year of college with us. Relax a little bit and take the time to get to know as many people as possible from your future school. Only one can be your roommate, but there’s no limit as to how many new friends you can have. Just have fun!

At this point in the summer, most of us have probably already survived the roommate search process, but if not, the perfect person could still be out there waiting for you. Maybe the process won’t be as scary if you realize that it is a lot like shopping, which we’ve all had to do many times before. If you’re still worried, don’t be too discouraged. Remember, you have to spend money when you're shopping, but you get your roommate for free (One more quick tip: if someone makes you pay to live with a potential roommate, it’s a definite no)!

Lead Image Credit: Gossip Girl via The CW Television Network 

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Ashley Flaws - Drake University

Ashley Flaws is a student from Webster City, Iowa attending Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. She has been in love with writing ever since second grade when she wrote a story about a boy and his cat. Since then, she has moved on from writing cat stories and is majoring in English and magazine media with the hopes of editing for a magazine someday. You can find her watching Netflix, eating junk food, obsessing over adorable, fat dogs and probably wearing the color pink.

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