One of the most exciting parts of college is meeting your freshman roommate—after all, this person has the potential to become one of your best friends! On the other hand, they could be a walking nightmare who blasts Skrillex at 3 AM, keeps taking your Chipotle burritos from the mini-fridge, and becomes a bitter, lifelong enemy. With both possibilities in mind, many people use apps like RoomSync to pick a roommate based on categories like “habits” (how messy are you? do you smoke?) and “interests” (Team Peeta or Team Gale? TRICK QUESTION, the answer is Team Haymitch), and then have a conversation with their matches before sealing the deal. But picking a roommate instead of throwing caution to the wind and letting your school assign you a rando isn’t for everyone. Here are the pros and cons of both to help you decide which is option right for you.
Picking a Roommate
You know what you’re getting into, which is a huge plus if you’re someone who likes to plan ahead. It’ll give you a head start on room decor (are you going for elegance or…whatever this is?) and the logistics of who’s going to bring what (it would be embarrassing if BOTH of you showed up with 5,000 plastic balls, because then you’d have 5,000 balls too many).
You’ll go in excited to meet each other, which takes a lot of anxiety out of the equation. You’ve both made the effort to hand-select a roommate; chances are you’re both looking for a friend, rather than a stranger who you sometimes have to ask to turn the lights out.
It doesn’t always work out. Just because you both think Goblet of Fire is the best Harry Potter book, doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be compatible roommates (also: you’re both wrong. Half-Blood Prince is the best Harry Potter book). It’s possible that your roomie’s personality came across differently online that it does in person, or that their idea of “neat” is about 70x less neat than yours.
You’re too similar. It’s easy to pick a roommate because his/her profile sounds just like yours, but sometimes you have more to talk about when you DON’T have everything in common.
It’s an adventure! Going away to college is all about making a fresh start and taking risks. Why not kick off your college experience by taking a chance on a roomie?
There’s less pressure. You didn’t select each other, so you don’t have to force the relationship if you two just aren’t clicking. It’s ok if you’re not besties with your roommate; sometimes you just want your room to be a quiet place where you can chill, instead of a place where you feel pressured to socialize.
It’s…an adventure?? A random roommate is, of course, random. You may wind up with someone whose habits and values are the polar opposite of yours, which could make things pretty tense.
You might get lonely. This one’s all about knowing yourself. If you hate feeling alone and are looking for a built-in best friend, a random roomie might not be for you—they won’t necessarily be as interested in a fun, social relationship as a handpicked roomie would.
If you’re starting college this fall, do you think you’ll pick a roomie in advance, or leave the outcome to FATE?