One of the scariest things about freshman year is, without a doubt, finding a roommate. In the technological society we live in, finding a roommate is no longer taking a survey and being surprised on move-in day. Instead, we go through exclamation-filled, nervous Facebook Message conversations asking about majors, favorite music and other lifestyle choices. With all of that, it can be difficult to sift through your options and find someone who is really "the one."
1. Back to Basics
When choosing a roommate, it’s really important to have basic “standards” (for lack of a better word) and the first step in knowing if you’re compatible with someone is the basics. Study habits, organization methods and potential smoking habits are super important questions to ask. If you love a clean room, make sure the person you’re talking to is on the same page. You don’t want to get close to someone and agree to room with them if you haven’t covered your living habits initially. Not agreeing on the basics could make for a tumultuous freshman year.
2. Automatic Comfort
There are some people that you just initially feel comfortable talking to. The conversation flows well, and you feel like you’re on the same page. If your first conversation with someone is really off-putting, that person is definitely not your roommate by any standards. You won’t immediately become best friends or see visions of each other in your weddings, but you want to at least feel like you’re enjoying a conversation with this potential roommate. You shouldn't feel judged or self-conscious in your first online meeting.
3. “Me too!” Moments
Meeting new people is sometimes nerve-wracking especially when the question “Do you want to be my roommate?” is in the back of everyone’s mind. As I started talking to my now roommate, we began to realize we had a ton of similar interests. For instance, we’re both extreme planners, we danced in high school and we’re academically focused. On the other hand, she’s a math person while I’m a writer, among other personality differences. You don’t have to be the same person as your potential roommate, but having common ground is important for conversation and compatibility.
4. Compromise, Compromise, Compromise
When my roommate and I met online, we wanted to live in different residence halls on campus, and two of our potential suitemates dropped out as we chose housing. Throughout the time we’ve known each other, we learned to compromise and make decisions so that we will both be happy with our freshman experience and rooming situation. Moral of the story: don’t be too stubborn with what you want, but don’t give in too much. It’s important to listen AND be heard in this process so that you nor your roommate ends up miserable.
5. Word Vomit
If you don’t love talking to your potential roommate, it may be hard to live with them for a full scholastic year. It’s important that you continue to want to know more about him or her even after you’ve secured a room together. My roommate and I have a Snapchat streak, we hung out together at our orientation and I've met her mom. Everyday communication, of course, isn’t a requirement, but if you don’t want to be communicating, how do you expect to suddenly want to talk to them when you move in together?
6. First Meeting? More like Old Friends
Don’t expect a movie scene when you first met your potential roommate, but your first in-person meeting shouldn’t be super awkward. By that time, you really should know enough about each other to jumpstart conversation. Remember, your roommate wants to like you, and you want to like your roommate. No one wants to be miserable during freshman year. So, be yourself and let the nerves go. If all goes well, you’ll be acting like old friends in no time.
With these ideas in mind, finding a roommate--and a potential best friend--is a piece of cake. It's okay to talk to different people and figure out who will be the best fit for you. Saying, "I don't think we want the same things for housing, but we can still hang out on campus" is perfectly fine because, in the end, you're only helping yourself and the other person find the ideal situation.
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