Hit or miss: student advice on rooming with strangers

Moving out is hard enough as it is, but moving in with a stranger for college can add a whole extra level of stress for incoming freshmen.

Isaiah Angle, visual communication design junior, said that since he is an only child, coming to college was the first time he had to share a room. 

He remembers being nervous before meeting his freshman roommate, but the guy ended up being pretty quiet and they mostly left each other alone, Angle said.

His sophomore year roommate was also fine, but Angle said he had to compromise with their schedules because his roommate always worked late. 

Ashley Alfred, applied math graduate student, said she didn’t live with a stranger until fall 2020. With COVID-19 in the mix, her experience was limited and she wasn’t able to be very close with her suitemate, she said. 

Alfred calls herself a kind of a loner, so it didn’t bother her as much as it would have if she were a freshman trying to make friends, she said. 

Taking initiative is important in befriending an unknown roommate, and if she had tried to reach out, Alfred thinks they would have gotten along. 

If you want to be closer, don’t be afraid to ask your roommate to do things, like go on a walk or out for lunch, Alfred said. 

Biology senior Kristina Anyanwu said she hoped to get a single room this semester, so having a roommate wasn’t part of the plan. However, plans changed, and her rooming situation was altered.  

She was initially disappointed, and although the situation is cordial, Anyanwu said she wouldn’t call herself and her new roommate friends.  

Although the two don’t fight, her roommate likes to listen to videos or music without earbuds in, which bothers Anyanwu when she’s trying to sleep. 

They eventually had a discussion about it and fixed the situation before it became a real issue, she said. 

Because of this, Anyanwu’s roommate advice is to be open to compromise and communicate. It’s also important to not be overly possessive of your shared spaces and items, like the fridge, Anyanwu said. You have to share, so don’t get defensive. 

“If something’s legitimately bothering you, you should bring it up to them. Hopefully, they’re gonna be understanding about it,” she said. 

Angle’s advice to anyone who lives with someone they don’t know is to remember that you don’t always have to stay stuck in the dorm with them. 

Venturing out to mingle with other people can keep you from getting sick of each other, he said, and if the two of you don’t get along, there are plenty of other people to hang out with on campus. 



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