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To Instagram Stalk Or To Choose Random: Divulging My Freshman Year Roommate Search At UCLA

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

I know you’ve heard roommate horror stories that make you want to drop out of college, love stories of roommate soulmates who end up as bridesmaids at each others’ weddings and the plain bizarre stories that make you question how some people got into college in the first place. 

And if you’re anything like me, upon receiving your college acceptance letter, one of the first things you did was dive into a comprehensive Internet stalk. I wanted to know everything there was to know about UCLA: overall experience at the university, classes, food, dorms, school spirit, social life and arguably most importantly, roommates.

People were creating “Class of 2025” pages all over Instagram, where incoming freshmen could send in pictures of themselves along with a short bio. This seemed to be the way everyone was getting to know each other and the path of least resistance was to do the same. So I carefully curated my series of photos, drafted a number of bios in my Notes app that’s embarrassing to admit and finally sent in my submission. 

When the post went up, I didn’t really know what to expect. But suddenly, my DMs were flooded with slightly different, yet identical variations of the same awkward introductions. People whose last names I didn’t even know already wanted a definitive answer on rooming together after only a handful of messages, I was being ghosted by others, I couldn’t keep anyone straight, I was having the same exact conversation with everyone and interactions felt so forced — I quickly became too overwhelmed to continue down this path of finding a roommate.

The pressure of finding that “soulmate roommate” seemed too much to take on simply through a couple of Instagram DMs, and after a few days I decided to just go random. I put my living preferences into the housing portal and placed all of my trust in the hands of the UCLA random roommate generator.

A few months of silence went by and I was eventually sent an email from UCLA Housing with the names and email addresses of the two girls I was assigned to live with, along with our room type and number. We connected on Instagram and immediately began chatting. It turned out that they were both from San Diego and had mutual friends there who introduced them. But because most freshmen are given triples, they opted to be assigned a random third roommate, me.

Expecting that we’d all be three complete strangers who had all gone random going in, I was thrown off by this at first. The idea of my two roommates already having a prior relationship and knowing each other scared me. Groups of three are already hard enough, and now I felt as though I was on the outs and we hadn’t even moved in yet.

Looking back, I let this unfair assumption get in my head way too much and ended up isolating myself in a way. Convinced that they were best friends and there was no way that the three of us could bond (this was simply not true; I was being dramatic and they’d met all of two times before moving in), I spent very little time with my roommates or in the dorm at all during Fall Quarter of my freshman year.

But slowly, I became closer to each of them as the weeks went on. We shared inside jokes, feelings of homesickness and lots of freshman-year firsts. We all found our own separate friend groups and our own people but always came back together at the end of each day for a full debrief. There were never any fights or awkwardness, no drama or resentment. None of us were best friends, but truthfully that’s why it worked. 

In the end, it worked so well that we decided to room together again this year. And although it’ll be our last year together as we three go our separate ways for apartments, I’ll always be happy with my years here on the Hill. So no matter if you choose to pick your roommate or leave it up to fate, know it’ll all work out in the end.

Ciara is a third year UCLA student from Oakland, CA who is majoring in Public Health. She loves to travel and explore new places; especially when there's any kind of ocean involved. When she's not busy workshopping her next Her Campus article, you can find Ciara sipping her morning coffee somewhere sunny, relaxing in her hammock, or chasing a sunset.