While many of you future first years are paying your acceptance fee and filling out the housing contract, I want to let you all know what my two year’s worth of experience at Ohio State has taught me about the roommate selection process.
Most people go about picking their roommate one of three ways:
Choosing someone they know from back home
Choosing someone they know that isn’t from the same hometown
Finding a roommate on Facebook or elsewhere online
Going random and letting Ohio State pick for you
I have some advice, pros and cons on each of these methods and I do have a favorite method (which I will share at the end).
Choosing someone from back home:
This is usually never a good idea. I know that a lot of people opt for this because college can be scary at first and someone familiar from home may make it better.
This is true, but college is about trying new things and your dorm is only going to be unfamiliar for a few weeks. It may sound appealing at first to live with one of your best friends, but you most likely will not meet as many new close friends. You’ll probably be inclined to hang out with your roommate and your other mutual friends from home than to branch out and meet new people.
If you room with a new person, you will get to know them and your friends from home will always be a few dorms away to hang out with when you want. Some people also choose to room with someone from home who they don’t really know but just want to live with them because they are from home. This could go well but usually I’ve seen it lead to some awkward situations. Don’t settle for someone just because they are familiar.
Choosing someone you know that isn’t from the same hometown:
This isn’t super common but maybe you met someone from another city at camp, on a retreat or have a friend that lives in another city. This can be good because you probably won’t get stuck just hanging out with high school friends if your roommate didn’t go to the same high school as you. If you know that you get along, it would probably be ok to room with them but as long as you are both willing to meet new people.
If you have doubts about whether you would really get along as roommate, then don’t be afraid to say no and just be friends that don’t room together. Again, don’t settle for a roommate just because they are familiar.
Finding someone on Facebook:
I have seen this type of rooming situation work out well, neutral, and badly. Basically, it’s really no different than going random through Ohio State’s selection process except that you will mostly likely pick someone that looks or reminds you of yourself or a friend, and you might not ever talk truthfully or seriously about hard but necessary issues like cleanliness, drinking, and guests or significant others staying the night.
Many people come off as friendly or different than they actually are on social media. Knowing someone’s favorite workout, what their major is, and their favorite Netflix shows is not a good indicator that you will be good roommates. If you do pick your roommate on Facebook, be serious about it and know that you are basically picking your own random roommate. While it would be great if you could end up being best friends, don’t expect it to happen because it might not.
Going random through Ohio State’s selection process:
Hopefully if you filled out your roommate survey truthfully, you and your random roommate will get along. I know people that are best friends with their random roommate, just get along well as roommates, and hate their roommate. A lot of people are worried about getting someone crazy (crazy is a relative term) through this process, but the odds of that are very small and you are almost just as likely to meet someone crazy on Facebook even though they might not appear that way. This is the best way to branch out and meet someone new which is one of the best parts about college. By doing this, you might meet someone completely different than yourself and realize that you get along. This is what I did my freshman year and it turned out really well so this is what I would recommend!
Whichever way you pick, just know that no method is a surefire way of getting a best friend/roommate. Every method has its pros and cons. With any method, there’s always the issue that unfortunately college changes some people and they behave very differently in a college environment where there are not as many rules or supervision, that’s just something that anyone might have to deal with.
You don’t have to do random but just make sure that you aren’t only hanging out with friends from home or only choosing someone because they seem similar to you on the outside. But if you do want my opinion, I would say cut the stress of picking your own roommate and just see what happens! You will probably find a solid group of friends by the end of your freshman year that you can choose to live with your sophomore year whether those friends are your random roommates (like mine were!), members of a club or team, sorority sisters, or people that you just met in class or your dorm.
Just for fun, here’s some of the memories we can probably all relate to whether we get along with our roommate or not: