Your first year of college is an exciting and nerve-wracking time. It's the first time you are out on your own, away from home, with nobody to tell you what to do. Lack of parental supervision, classes, wondering if you'll like your roommate and trying to make friends all weigh heavy on your freshman mind.
So, why not cut out some of that stress and room with someone you know and like? My advice: don't. Some of the cons of a random roommate are obvious: they could be unbelievably messy, party every night of the week, lack personal hygiene or could be straight-up mean. So, why take your chances and maybe get stuck with an insufferable jerk? Because, whether you end up besties for life or not, living with a stranger will help you grow in several ways.
The most important being that they will teach you how to be patient. Not everyone lives the same way, and that can take time to get used to. You will learn how to deal with other peoples' messes (physical or otherwise) and how to communicate with them.
Living with people whose lifestyles clash with your own teaches you how to problem solve and compromise. Even if you've had to share a room with a sibling in the past, living with a peer with whom you are not already familiar requires a different set of boundaries. If you've never had to share a room before, this is an especially invaluable experience that you will likely never get the opportunity to have again (besides living with a significant other, which is a whole different kind of ordeal).
As stressful as that sounds, you may not have to deal with any of that at all. Your roommate could become your best friend and may introduce you to cool people you never would have met otherwise.
If you live with someone you know, you are eliminating a potential way to make new friends. Even if you and your stranger-turned-friend roommate get along perfectly, sharing space with someone still requires an open line of communication. If your roommate likes to study until three in the morning, but you like going to bed at 11, you will have to work together to figure out a system that will benefit both of you.
I lived with three random roommates my freshman year, and it was the best thing I could have done. One of them is now my best friend, and we lived together sophomore year. All four of us got along well, mostly because we communicated and were open to suggestions. There were some decisions we had to make together, such as figuring out a chore rotation. I learned that not everyone has the same definition of "clean," but that's part of the learning process of cohabitation. If you and your roommate(s) listen to and respect one another, sharing a room can be a lot of fun.
So, next time around, try a random roommate. You'll have gained some insight into the broad spectrum of human behavior. And, if it doesn't work out, next year you can live with some of the new friends you made on your floor.