Summertime, and (roommate) livin' is easy
I have always thought of having a college roommate as a right of passage, so I was disappointed to learn that I had a single for my freshman year. Looking back, while living in a single had some serious perks, I still feel like I missed out on an essential college experience.
Thankfully, this summer my wishes were answered! I was randomly paired with a fellow '21— Snow (how cool of a name is that?!).
Although random roommate assignments can notoriously go awry (just Google 'roommate horror stories' for a black hole of disasters), Snow and I have quickly become close friends! And while my roommate experience is uniquely my own, (to all of you roommate-wary '22s out there) I think it's fair to use my experience to alleviate some fears you might have:
First of all, living with a stranger might seem scary at first, but they won't be strangers with you for long! Snow and I went into the summer term without ever having met one another (proof that you meet new friends every term).
More importantly, what I've learned from my roommate experience is that you don't have to be the same person as your roommate to get along with them. I've heard a lot of people advise that finding a roommate with similar study/sleep habits is essential, but after this term, I've concluded that there really isn't a formula like this for roommate success. Snow and I are very different people with traits that — on paper — totally clash: Snow sleeps and studies late, while I'm just the opposite. Nonetheless, we get along swimmingly. In fact, when I left to visit a friend in Boston for the weekend, she was actually sad to have the room all to herself (see image on the right).
Having a roommate also makes it easier to navigate Dartmouth when you don't know a lot of people on campus. Because it's my freshman summer and few other '21s are on campus, I went into the term expecting to be pretty anti-social. Snow has pushed me to meet more '20s. And even after a year on campus, I've learned a lot more about Dartmouth because Snow's experiences and activities are so different from mine (she's a CS major and involved in dance and OPAL).
So in summary, some lessons learned from and perks of having a roommate:
You'll learn how to share your life with a stranger (a valuable life skill!)
- Navigating life at Dartmouth will be easier
- They push you out of your comfort zone: your different set of interests are an asset to both of you
- You'll get to meet twice as many people!
- They'll challenge you to rethink your life: what you prioritize, why your dreams are what they are, etc.
I'll admit that roommate experiences range drastically. But even if you end up having lukewarm feelings toward your roommate, you will know your roommate in a way that some of their closest friends might not even know, and you'll gain more insight into other people. Personally, having a roommate has made me more thoughtful (and I believe getting paired with any roommate would have had this effect on me), and it's pushed me to try new things and expand my social circle.
Whether living with someone else is something you're super excited about or something you dread, your roommate has the potential to make you learn a lot and even to be one of your closest friends!