One of the most difficult things I have had to deal with in college is residential life. Unlike most other schools, my college, UChicago, offers about 12 different highly unique residence halls both on and off campus that come in varying shapes, sizes, personalities, and ages. Throw in a poor system for determining which students get to select their dorms first and things haven’t been ideal for my housing.
My story is a bit unique; I had a single room (without a roommate) with a private bathroom when I first got to school. It was great having my own room and space and the privacy was glorious, but the dorm was quite far from the center of campus. I know that I was exceptionally lucky to have such a room as a freshman, but the distance really was a struggle for me. Having to take public transportation to school was just awful, and having to deal with Chicago winters and living 15 minutes from campus was pretty bad too. Thus, I got on my schools housing waitlist so that I could move to a dorm on campus.
I got offered a room and took it. Though I do not regret my move to be at a dorm on campus, this new room came with something I hadn’t had to deal with but about which there is a lot of clout: a roommate. I wasn’t really scared to have one, I just recognized that it would be a change from what I was used to. I am not a very outgoing person, so I thought having a roommate might be a bit of a struggle.
When I met my roommate, he seemed pretty nice, sort of quiet, and clean (something I thought was a good sign). I’m a pretty tidy person as well as quiet so I knew things would go well, and I definitely thought that the living situation would be fine. My one problem? My roommate and I lack in the friendship department. We don’t really talk much, nor do we hang out with each other. I would like to have a better relationship with him so things wouldn’t be as awkward, but it’s a pretty good deal.
I can now say that I have learned how to live with another person and that it can be fine even without communicating with him. However, I agree with Amanda’s article from last week about roommate relationships. I do suggest really trying to form some sort of connection with your roommate. There have been a few awkward moments (especially involving having dates over) that I could’ve managed better if my roommate and I had made a few of “rules” about it first. At the very least, be comfortable with the person (or persons) you’re living with.
So, the best advice I can offer you about roommate jitters is to not freak out, and don’t be afraid to have a double even if you have options to get a single. Take into account the costs and benefits for all types of housing and try to find out what will be best for you. But remember: a clean roommate is nice but doesn’t mean a good connection, and sometimes a good connection can create friendship, but it doesn’t mean a good living environment. Just think about what you want your roommate relationship to be like and try to find someone who fits your needs.