One of the many joys and excitements of going off to college is that new person you will be living with for the next year. While bonding over the color scheme of the room, you and your roommate have the opportunity to become a friend. Granted, a lot of roommate pairing just do not work out and both people resort to merely sharing a living space.
Meeting the person that you will be living with for the next nine months can be a scary and nerve-wracking experience. There are so many questions running through your mind: will this person like me? will we get along? will we be comfortable sharing a living space? Many people decide to remain neutral and simply agree to respect their roommate without making the effort of any friendship in fear that there will be greater conflict as friends.
I met Elise on January 11th as she was making her bed in our dorm room. I walked in and she turned to me with the biggest smile. We got the room organized and got to know each other as we went. I am sure that Elise had thousands of questions running through her mind just like me, but instead of making negative assumptions, she decided to greet me with a friendly smile. Her smile suggested "Let's be friends" instead of "Will we get along?" and that changed my outlook on roommates.No longer did I doubt my relationship with Elise. I took her example and decided to give some thought to a friendship with her. Our semester living together was filled with laughter, dance parties past midnight, and spiritual conversations that brought up even closer. This joy I found living with Elise came because I decided to give friendship with her a chance.
Roommates are not just the people you live with. You can make friends with your roommate if you keep your mind open and stay true to who you are. Roommates are not there to just take up half your room. You can create a unique and comfortable living space with your roommate if you limit your judgement of them. And finally, roommates are human. You can mend conflict if you have patience and maintain respect for both your roommate and yourself.
So, yes, have questions about your new future with your roommate. But I also suggest you keep your mind open, your patience abundant, and your judgement limited. Your new roommate is in the same situation that you are and has just as many questions about living with someone as you. There will be disagreements and fights and tensions but remaining positive can change your outlook on your new roommate and hopefully, new friend.
And finally, as you either begin your freshman year or you are moving in with someone new, keep in mind the first impression you instill on your roommate. It could come with a success story worth sharing and a new friend worth staying up and dancing past midnight on a night you have an 8 a.m class the next morning.