Roommates: A Best Friend or a Nightmare?


Going to college brings some great opportunities, one of which being able to room with someone who isn’t your sibling! As students prepare to leave the nest, they experience mixed feelings on how to find a roommate. People are willing to go to almost any lengths to avoid a nightmarish situation like this:

“I found my roommate on Facebook. She seemed very mellow and easy to get along with. The very next week she asked my boyfriend out on a date, claiming that she forgot he was my boyfriend, which was really weird. I would then come back to my room, and it would seem as though she was going through my clothes, things wouldn’t be where I left them. That turned into her starting to wear my clothes! One day I came back and she was sleeping in my bed. I was getting so weirded out that I tried to switch my roommate. The Resident Adviser had other ideas. We went through ‘roommate counseling’ sessions. It got worse after that. She would threaten to steal my car, got drunk at 2:00 p.m. and had a habit of yelling at me for no reason. Definitely a situation I was glad to get out of.”

One recent BRFHS grad

It is easy to see why people spend so much time worrying about who their roommate will be. Rooming with someone you have known your whole life seems like a great way to start out living on your own.

“I am rooming with Olivia Valentino, and we have known each other for most of our life,” said senior Cassidy Bunnell. “My biggest worry is the other people who will be living in our building. I know Liv and I get along very well.”

Other students want college to feel like they are branching out and starting over. Meeting someone completely new is appealing because he or she doesn’t know you and can introduce you to new things.

“My future roommate and I have talked about all the things that worry us about living with someone for the first time. We pretty much have the same viewpoint when it comes to stuff like not being messy and studying, but it does make me a little nervous to be living with someone I’ve only known for a few months,” said senior Alyssa Stemper.

Students who have not found a roommate yet worry about the characteristics of the person they might be spending a lot of time with. Jennifer Oppreicht reported that that students who don’t get along with their roommate also struggle in other relationships and don’t maintain a good GPA.

“Going to college I am really looking forward to the freedom that comes with that. I hope to have a roommate that has similar interests as me. One thing I worry about is rooming with someone who is noisy and I won’t be able to study,” said senior Emma Watkins.

A lot of the time prospective students look for others who have the same values and ideals as them. This way, hopefully, the other person doesn’t have any tendencies you don’t like. 

“I am super specific about my room being clean and organized, so I hope my roommate is the same way as she said she is. I met my roommate at a scholarship competition, and it went really well!” said senior Kora Ulness.

When two people don’t have the same ideals and tendencies, when it comes to cleanliness, it can be hard for them to be friends. Most colleges are asking students to live with those people who are the opposite of them. Some universities have tried to alleviate the stress of finding a roommate you are compatible with.

In a study done by Boise State University, one group of students completed a survey and were matched to people with some of the same interests. Similarly, the students were offered a conflict-resolution class and encouraged to make a roommate contract.

“The students from study one, of those who responded, 91 percent indicated they completed a roommate behavior contract. Confidence was high in their ability to discuss difficulties with a roommate after the contract discussion. Sixty-four percent indicated high confidence (8, 9, or 10 on the 10-point scale),” said the researchers. 

College is also a time where students learn a lot about themselves, and some students want to find someone who has different interests than theirs so they can learn about new things.

“My biggest concern is not getting along well with whoever is going to be my roommate. I want to be able to do fun things with my roommate and be introduced to and try new things,” said senior Madison Eberhardt. “I’m looking forward to meeting new people and sort of restarting my life.”