Last Updated: Jan 30, 2019
The transition into a completely new college lifestyle can introduce many different challenges and anxieties for incoming students. For some of us, one of those challenges is one fantastical being: the college roommate.
Let’s be real—we’ve all been imagining what college life would be like since our early days in elementary school. Even at eight years old, when college seemed like a magical realm for us to unlock like the gateway to Narnia, we imagined the almost ethereal presence of the college roommate; the future Sherlock to our Watson, or the Frodo to our Sam. Some people have been planning to attend college with their practically part-of-the-family best friend and actually follow through with it. Others, however, are getting ready to say goodbye to their childhood partners in crime and are about to be rooming with a complete and total stranger.
The idea of being assigned a random roommate can be entirely daunting, especially for those who struggle with social anxiety from time to time. But, take it from someone who’s had firsthand experience: roommates, even random ones, can be a lot of fun, and you just might meet your new best friend. When getting ready to head off to college with your new roommate, there are a couple of things you can do in advance to get ready for your dorm and to help break the ice.
Getting to know your roommate
This may sound pretty self-explanatory, but it’s always a good idea to kick things off by getting to know your future roommate. Start things off by introducing yourselves and finding out new things about each other. Ask your roommate about their family, where they’re from, their hobbies and interests, etc. Once you know these things, it will be a lot easier to find things to talk about, and I guarantee you’ll both feel much more comfortable around each other. Being able to find some common ground is a sure way to break the ice and help to build a connection between you and your roommate.
Speaking of ice breakers, there are a ton of resources online filled with questions, conversation topics, and little activities you can do with your roommate to help get to know them, if that’s something you’re interested in. Most importantly, just spend quality time with them if you really want to become friends, or at least live in harmony. Colleges are pretty great about trying to make sure you and your future roommate are compatible, so the chances of you getting along are pretty high. So don’t stress about it too much!
Related: 5 Tips for New Roommates
Planning your dorm room
Not only is this step a fun part of the college experience in general, but it also helps you build a relationship with your new roommate. Get in touch with your roommate and figure out everything you need to bring for your dorm. A lot of things you will need to purchase are individual items and can be bought without consulting your roommate first, but some things will need to be discussed, like what type of storage to go with or what large items you want to share. Since receiving our assignments, my roommate and I have been in touch almost every day, chatting, making lists, and deciding how to decorate our dorm room and who should bring what. For example, I’m bringing a mini-fridge and my roommate is bringing a microwave. Splitting things up helps spread out the expenses, and it also helps ensure that you don’t have any repeat items. My roommate and I have even decided to coordinate colors and furniture in our dorm for a more homey and unified feel. But more than just the excitement that comes with getting your dorm room ready and organized, taking the time to plan everything out helps you bond with your roommate because you both begin to build a sort of codependency. Within just a few days, my roommate and I had already really hit it off, and we couldn’t be more excited to room together this year. We found that we have very similar tastes and interests, and planning our room helped us to build on those things even more in just a very short time.
While waiting to find out about your roommate can be stressful and a little bit intimidating, it can also be a very exciting time. It’s important to remember that all of the other new students are just as nervous and intimidated as you are and that you aren’t alone. Keep in mind that even though you may not become best friends with your roommate, you will have the chance to meet lots of new students and begin to make other friends regardless. But who knows? My roommate and I met at orientation and became friends before we even knew we had been paired to room together; you never know what kind of crazy things might happen at college!