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It seems like everyone else you know spends quite a bit of time with their roommates, getting breakfast together, watching movies and posting constant photos of their weekend roomie dates. Then there’s you. You get breakfast alone or with other friends. You spend time outside of your room, often far from where you live, mostly returning to sleep or grab something. You might not necessarily dislike your roommates, but your roommates aren’t your best friends. And that’s OK.

You don’t have to love spending time with your roommates.

Of course, college is generally more fun when you like or at least tolerate your roommates. Not everyone is lucky enough to fill out a random survey and get a roommate who also likes pop music, staying up until 2 a.m., watching Parks and Rec and not having overnight guests. People’s #squadgoals might make you feel like you’re alone in not bonding with your roommates but ask any RA; you’re not alone in not bonding with your roommates.

There’s no “right way” to go through college.

Your college experience doesn’t have to look exactly like your friend’s or your neighbor’s or your sister’s. Though we commonly see roommates portrayed as part of the perfect college experience equation, you can still have a great experience without being best friends with your roommates. Your weekends will look different. You might not be able to use the same hashtags as people who spend every weekend going on a new adventure with their roommates. But so what? You have your own adventures and your own experience.

Living with people is hard.

In articles, roommates are often glamorized as these amazing, funny best friends who never leave your side. Having relationship problems? Your roommate is already on the way to buy ice cream. Rough day in your classes? You can vent to your roommate because she just gets you. While this might be the case sometimes, conflicts are bound to come up when you’re sharing a small space with someone. Sometimes, she will get the ice cream when you’re having relationship problems. Other times, she will have her boyfriend over without telling you. Sometimes, she will cheer you up after a rough day but other times, you’ll just want to be alone and that’s really, really hard in college.

The key is to give your roommates a chance and to put an effort into your relationship with them.

You don’t have to spend a bunch of time together. You don’t have to be best friends. But college is a much better experience if you can find a way to get along. Even if your roommates do things that annoy you, they’re probably not terrible people (though it’s possible to have a very negative experience). You probably annoy them sometimes too. Communicate with your roommates and give them a chance. Invite them to breakfast every once in a while. And if you’ve communicated and tried to get along with them and you’re still having issues, consider switching rooms.

You can find friends elsewhere.

Students could feel pressured to connect with their roommates just because it seems like the normal thing to do. But just because you don’t have much in common with your roommates doesn’t mean you won’t make friends. Establishing relationships takes time. You could dislike your roommates one semester then become better friends with them the next. Or you could continue not liking your roommates, but make friends somewhere else. There are so many other opportunities to meet new people – don’t feel like making friends is hopeless just because a random roommate survey didn’t find your best friends for you.

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the author

Paige Sheffield is a student at Central Michigan University. In addition to writing for The Prospect, she writes for her campus newspaper, You On Top Magazine, and more. She is also a TP Editorial Internship Co-coordinator. She loves poetry, coffee, statement jewelry, zumba, politics, and the Great Lakes. She is passionate about arts education and currently volunteers and interns with organizations that provide art-related programming to underserved populations. You can follow her on twitter @paige_sheff.

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