As soon as a high school student begins the process of applying to colleges, they're suddenly bombarded with advice from friends, family and almost anyone who has been through the college experience. Some students even go the next step and seek out advice articles online, hoping to make the best of their college years by doing it the "right way" as determined by these articles. One piece of advice that often seems to find itself on these lists is to never room with a friend from high school. While this is often listed under a "do not" column, I would say that there are enough positives associated with rooming with a friend to reconsider its placement in this category.
1. It can improve your social experience.
While many say that rooming with a friendly face can cause you to be antisocial , it is more likely to supply the confidence you may need to interact with fresh faces in college. It can be harder than you think to make friends at an older age. When you were in kindergarten, you simply went up to a random child and decided that they were going to be your friend. You didn't need to worry about what they thought about your clothes or your interests, as those things didn't matter. College is a bit more complicated, as most college students don't react as positively to a random stranger asking to be their friend. Having someone by your side you're comfortable with can help with your socialization. They can give you that boost of confidence when approaching strangers. Now, if you decide to only hang out with your roommate, that's when negative aspects can appear. However, as long as you're branching out, it's healthy to keep this person by your side when needed.
2. It can help you get used to living with someone new.
Another part of college is the change of living with someone new. This is a big transition for most people as they are used to having their own room and decorating it the way they like. Rooming with a friend can help make this transition smoother while still giving you that new experience of living with someone you haven't before. No matter how well you know someone, you never truly know every part of them until you have lived together for a good period of time. When you room with someone you know, it takes away some of the uncertainty that comes with living with a stranger while still providing a situation to help you grow. You will still gain the experience that is learning to compromise with another person regarding living conditions.
3. Homesickness might not hit you as hard.
Homesickness hits almost every college student. It's a natural feeling that comes with being away from home for a while. The hard part of the feeling is the urge to run home to relieve the homesickness. It is often said that you should try and stay at college for at least a month before your first visit home, but many have trouble with this. Having someone from home at college can help silence this urge and help you adjust to being away. A familiar face in the new life you are trying to build will give you the support you may need to combat homesickness. Who better to relate to how you're feeling than someone who is feeling exactly the same way about the exact same place?
4. Carpooling can make travel easier on your parents.
As much as your parents are excited to see you on breaks or weekends, the drive to and from college can be an exhausting trip after it's done several times. Many freshmen are not allowed to have a car on campus, so they have no other option than to have their parents come get them. Having a roommate who is from the same area as you can help ease your parents' burden. You can coordinate trips home and back with your roommate, with their parents driving home and your parents driving back. This way, your parents are not making the trip back and forth to the point where it becomes strenuous. It may even help them with their excitement at your coming home as it is less work for them!
5. Similar experiences with schoolwork in high school means a similar transition to college schoolwork.
Going from the familiarity of a high school workload to the strangeness of a college workload is a hard transition for any student. While a college schedule may mean more time out of class, you end up having more hours of work to do during this time out of class. And while the structure of high school work is somewhat similar across the country, every student will have their own experience since they came from a different high school. When your roommate shares your high school experience, their transition will be very similar to yours. They had a similar schooling experience as you for twelve years and now have to readjust as well. The two of you can help each other, even if you may not have similar majors.
6. Joining a club may not be as scary.
Every college student you talk to will stress the importance of joining clubs once you get to campus. It is a great way to get to know other students and talk to people who have similar interests. However, it can be very intimidating to walk into a group of people who are close with each other, as they have been meeting for a while now. That first meeting can be nerve-wracking. When rooming with a friend, they can be your motivator when it comes time for the first meeting. Since the first meeting of a club is mainly for introductions and a way to see if the club suits your interests, it is not a binding agreement that you must come to every meeting afterwards. For this reason, your roommate can attend the meeting with you to make you more comfortable. If the club interests you, you can sign up and keep going, now more comfortable with the meeting process. If it doesn't suit your roommate, they can simply choose not to go to the next meeting.
Before you rush to change your roommate request, rethink the possible benefits that could come with rooming with a familiar friend. Bringing someone from home could be the thing to make your college experience better than most.
Lead Image Credit: Julia Boyle