A Letter to Freshmen: It’s Okay If You’re Not BFFs with Your Roommate

Dear Freshmen,

You’ve been living with your roommate for a few weeks now and the dream of the two of you being attached at the hip seems far from becoming a reality. You see your friends posting Snapchat stories and Instagram pictures of study sessions, nights out and shenanigans with their roommates and you wonder, “Why am I so unlucky? Am I doing something wrong?”

Let me be the first to tell you that it’s completely normal if you don’t become best friends with your roommate and it’s way more common than you think. Social media builds up the expectation that you and your roommate will practically be like siblings. Yes, you might end up hitting it off with your Facebook match or random assignment and that’s awesome! Or you might end up being amicable towards each other and that’s about it.

Is it the end of the world? Absolutely not! If you put in your best effort to connect with your roommate, you’re doing the right thing. And you still aren’t clicking, do not let this put a damper on the start of your freshman year.

This time last year, I was in your shoes and I was hoping for the perfect roommate relationship. My former roommate was a really nice person, but for a mix of reasons, we never became good friends. We simply coexisted in the same space. Of course we endured some awkward moments while we were both in the room. But a good thing that emerged from this situation was that we were very much independent of each other, and she never pried into all of the details of my everyday life. Sometimes the silence in your room is just what you need after an exhausting day of class, and that being said, you can check off the studying and Netflix-watching that’s on your to-do list without interruption.

In a way, I’m grateful for the roommate situation that I had. Since I didn’t have the safety net of a roommate bestie, I was motivated early on to go out of my room frequently to socialize and become heavily involved in the clubs I joined. I’ve met so many great people throughout the year, be it floor-mates, groups for class projects, lab partners or club members!

You might think that you’re alone in the roommate problem but you’ll eventually learn that some of your friends are dealing with the same thing, whether it was immediate or the friendship fizzled out as the year progressed. Your personality is so unique that you won’t mesh with everyone you encounter, especially when living with a new person who most likely carries out their daily life differently than you.

One last piece of advice: Just because the scenario is not ideal, do not be afraid to communicate with your roommate about any concerns that arise or standards that you’d like to maintain in the room. If you don’t talk to your roommate about these kinds of things, the frustrations that you feel inside will cause you to view your dorm as a place you can’t stand to be. Have a short and sweet chat with them explaining what you feel without calling them out in a negative way. They’ll probably understand because they’re in the same boat as you, but if things go south, reach out to your RA. It’s so important that you do your best to feel comfortable in your new home for your first year of college, so that the only stress that piles on your plate comes from your classes, not from the room you call home.

I hope this advice provides you with a realistic perspective on how a roommate relationship may turn out, and even more so, I hope you use it to seek out the good within the bad as you venture into some of the greatest years of your life!

Wishing you the best of luck,

Erin and all of us at HC Pitt

Photo Credit: 1, 2, 3, author’s own, 5