Image from Pexels

Image from Pexels

Maybe you had to write that pesky letter to your future roommate essay as part of your college application. Now, as the start of new school year approaches, this imaginary roommate isn’t so imaginary anymore. Did you get an opportunity to pick your roommate? Or have you been waiting with bated breath for the rooming assignment? Either way, contacting your roommate before school starts is extremely important because you guys should coordinate a few rooming details if not getting to know each other better whether you have been lifelong friends or complete strangers from across the world.

I’m rooming with my best friend!

By chance or design, you are going to the same university with someone who you are already familiar with. For convenience and comfort, you decide to room with your friend, who you already may talk to every night. However, if you are planning to go ahead and pack without consulting the other on your standards for sharing and buying new furniture, you should pause. Specifically start a conversation with her about her living habits. Since she is no stranger, you’ll be comfortable enough asking her via phone or messaging without the formality of forms. You’ll get honest replies too! (well hopefully)

I’m rooming with…who? 

You’ve been counting down to the rooming decisions day. You are perhaps excited, or fearing for your future happiness. For many, reading that name that pops up on the housing decision screen may be the first realization that high school is over and that college will bring big changes. It hits you that you have to meet new people and learn to live with them. It hits you that college is real, and coming real soon.

Yep, the twenty-first century teenager instinct is to find the future roommate on Facebook. Friend them! It’s not weird at all. Initiate the conversation. Don’t be afraid to be bold because even the most audacious person might be nervous in the first few conversations online. Try to stay authentic from the beginning to who you are.

On the other hand, first impressions, especially digital impressions, have a significant influence on our perception of one another. Although you may be tempted to draw on your high school experiences and form assumptions, keep in mind that people are much more different in real life, for better or for worse. Although it differs from person to person, it might be a good idea to wait talking about personality, dreams and aspirations, and other deep stuff until you actually meet to ensure that your texts aren’t interpreted the wrong way.

If Facebook fails, either your roommate does not have a profile or does not respond to your messages, then try emailing. Keep in mind that people are often out of town during the summer. Meeting them at orientation would be slightly inconvenient, but it would certainly not be the end of the world.

Must-have conversations

After exchanges of pleasantries, you should at the very least talk about rooming details if you don’t want to chitchat further.

First, figure out when you are all arriving. Some schools have pre-orientation programs or different orientation schedules that allow freshmen to move in at different times. In addition, talk about how they are getting there and whether parents will accompany them.

Second, collectively agree on needed pieces of shared furniture. See if you can find a floor plan on the school’s website and a list of existing furniture. It might be a good idea to pitch in together to get a mini-fridge or a printer.  Coordinate who is bringing what. You don’t want to end up with two sets of TV crowding your tiny space. However, it is completely alright if you decide to get furniture/room items as you go during the school year.

Finally, ask them about their must-have items and items they absolutely cannot tolerate in the room. This might get you talking and discovering some common connections. It is also important to keep an open mind. Understanding these things beforehand will help you avoid nasty shocks come fall and become more prepared for living with someone new.

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the author

Jinchen is a senior in high school from Texas. Often described as “bouncy”, Jinchen’s enthusiasm coats everything from deep philosophical discussions about amoebas to fresh homemade smoothies to new archeological digs. Jinchen can be spotted volunteering at the zoo or museum, planning new events, scribbling and doodling in her treasured journal, or staring at the sky and thinking about the meaning of life. She loves anything international affairs-related and has recently discovered her interest in engineering. Having lived on three continents, it is her dream to one day explore and travel around the world.

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