The idea of having a college roommate can be one of the main sources of anxiety when getting ready to begin freshman year. I have to share this tiny rectangular living space with a complete stranger? What if she tries to steal my stuff? What if we have completely different sleep schedules? What if I just don’t like her? These are all completely natural concerns, especially if you aren’t used to sharing your room with another person. There is one step you need to take to help put your mind at ease: introduce yourself. Often when you take some of the mystery and “what-ifs” out of the equation, you’ll feel a lot more comfortable about living with someone new.
These days it couldn’t be easier to connect with your new roommate. After you get her name in the mail from your school, you can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and the list goes one. Tip #1: Do not automatically form a judgement about your roommate based on her social media pages. Taking a look at at her pictures or the music she lists as her favorite can definitely serve as an additional way to get to know her, but don’t form an opinion on her before you even have a conversation with her. I don’t know about you, but when I consider the big picture, my Facebook represents just a tiny portion of my life and who I am.
So, once you do see her Facebook or Twitter, Tip #2: Don’t be afraid to reach out first! Sure, you’ve never spoken before, but you’re about to spend an entire school year living about four feet away from each other; shyness should stop now. Send her a friend request, along with a quick message introducing yourself and asking her if she wants to set up a time to Skype or talk on the phone before school starts.
You may be unsure of what to talk about when you are first getting to know each other, but lucky for you, you two already have something pretty big in common: your school! You can discuss what classes you will both be taking, trade tips on packing your belongings from home, and discuss certain dorm room logistics, such as who is bringing the mini-fridge or the area rug. These are easy topics to break the ice and start to learn each other’s personalities. Once again, try to reserve any judgements you may have and (Tip #3) give her a chance. Maybe she doesn’t seem as excited about getting to know each other as you are, but that could be because she’s timid or nervous. Maybe she seems like an extreme party animal, but that could be because she’s saying what she thinks is expected of all college students.
No matter what, do your best to stay open-minded. After all, college is about broadening your horizons and crossing paths with all different kinds of people. Even if you end up not getting along, at the very least, living with her will have given you an important life lesson about dealing with a difficult person. Check out CL’s Roommate Etiquette 101 for tips on how to handle tough roommate conflicts. The important thing is to stay positive: you’ll start off as strangers, but by the end of freshman year she could become one of your best friends.
Photos from mycollegeguide.org and viraltoob.com.
Jenna Ballard is a rising junior at Hofstra University, double majoring in English and Global Studies. She loves movie marathons, trying new foods, and New York City, and hopes one day to become an editor so she can read books for a living.