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Why You Should Room With a Stranger in College

Why You Shouldn't Room With Someone You Already Know in College

Young women having a good time and hanging out, at youth hostel with bunk beds

Choosing the right college roommate as an incoming freshman can be stressful, intimidating, and even a little scary. You don't want to have a colossal personality clash to interfere with your first-year experience. You want to get along, have fun, and be able to fully relax with each other in your small space. And if you're going to school with one of your friends, you've probably thought about rooming with each other. Easy and comfortable, right? Well, "going in blind," or letting the university match you up with someone, is also an awesome option. You might just end up with a lifelong friend. I know, because that's exactly what happened to me.

We were there for each other through breakups, failing grades, and more. Today, almost two decades later, Jessica is still that person for me.

At my college orientation, I remember filling out a questionnaire, which was designed to help set you up with a compatible roommate. I answered the questions honestly, even if it meant exposing some of my bad habits, which included being a night owl, a little messy, and that I was a "free spirit." I ended up being paired up with someone with similar (and messy) qualities. Once my roommate, Jessica, and I were matched, we chatted on the phone before our big move-in day, discussing our backgrounds and who would bring what.

To say that we clicked instantly would be a massive understatement. During that first week, we laughed, roamed our dorm to meet new friends, and whispered about what guys we'd eventually like to talk to. We stayed up late talking, took naps between classes, and truly relished in getting to know one another. With each passing year in college, our friendship grew stronger. We were there for each other through breakups, failing grades, and more. Today, almost two decades later, Jessica is still that person for me.

I remember people offering me advice about college before my freshman year, insisting I know my roommate going in. While that definitely works for some people, don't do it just because you're scared or nervous. You'll expand your friend group so much by rooming with someone you don't know and you'll learn so much about yourself in the process. I could have missed out of this beautiful friendship if I didn't push myself out of my comfort zone to room with a stranger. The thought of not having Jessica by my side brings tears to my eyes. I'm so thankful to her for being in my life from the moment we both walked into that empty dorm room.

If you're feeling a little uneasy about who your college roommate should be, know that going in "blind" can be such an amazing thing. You might gain a lifelong friend, one that will help you through all of college's struggles and beyond, and who will love you no matter what — despite how messy you are.

Image Source: Getty / Klaus Vedfelt
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