Seniors take different approaches in college roommate search

Drew Hoffmaster | The Chronicle

When a student finally reaches college, they do not have to room with their annoying sibling, but have the opportunity to choose a roommate.

College is often the first time students are living independently and experience having a roommate. Mason High School students have been using a variety of methods to find roommates – through social media, talking to friends or choosing their university’s random option. When choosing roommates, students consider a variety of factors, such as sleep schedule, personality and major.

Senior Grady Wilson, who will be attending the University of Cincinnati, decided to choose his university’s random option. With this, students answer questions to help gauge their living habits and schedules. Then, they are randomly assigned a roommate who the college thinks would be a good match. Wilson said that he views the process as a necessity to ensure that he has a good experience his freshman year.

“Lining us up with people with similar schedules should let [me and my roommate] click,” Wilson said. “I think it’d be hard if there’s nothing in common.”

Wilson said that he initially tried to find a roommate through connections at school, but after a few weeks of stress, he decided to choose a random roommate. Wilson’s sister, who is finishing her second year of college, chose a random roommate and had a positive experience making new friends.

“She chose random and she met a lot of new people that way,” Wilson said. “She became friends with her roommate and her roommate’s friends and it allowed her to make so many new connections she wouldn’t have made if she chose someone she knew.”

Wilson said that he does not think finding roommates on social media allowed him to understand who they were. People only put what they want others to see on social media. Because of this, he said that he thinks getting a random roommate is easier and that more students should consider it.

“We are all using the other options and looking through social media without really considering choosing the unknown, which may work out better than the other options,” Wilson said.

Senior Julia Li is planning to attend Washington University in St. Louis to pursue a degree in English and Economics and wanted to find a roommate that she had something in common with. She used her university’s graduating class’s online Instagram page to find a roommate with a major that aligned with her interests.

“She was going for a communication design major and I really enjoy art,” Li said. “The communication design major really drew me because I saw some of myself in her.”

Li said that she did not choose randomly because she was afraid of being stuck with someone who she shared nothing with. She also did not choose someone from Mason because she thought that she would be bound to her hometown.

“When I was visiting [Washington University in St. Louis], I saw a bunch of different friend groups,” Li said. “I was like ‘That’s so cool. They all probably all met in college.’ I just want to branch out and find all of these wonderful people.”

Finding someone online allowed Li to read their bios and learn if they had similar sleep schedules, interests and personalities. Li decided that the best way to see if they meshed was through messaging them to see how their interactions went.

“If [our texts] were really awkward and she ghosted me or used tight grammar rules, I’d probably be like, maybe not,” Li said. “But she was really sweet. I feel like we have a lot in common.”

Seniors Tanya Marla and Sanjana Nair are both going to attend the University of Cincinnati and are majoring in medical sciences. They are both from Mason and are planning to room because they discovered they are so compatible.

“We thought it would be nice to have a start with somebody [we] know, so that even when we branch out, we still have each other. We grew close before we ever considered being roommates, but after the decision, it brought us closer together,” Marla said. “This was because we got to know so much more about each other’s lifestyles and how they are alike.”

Marla said that they didn’t know each other too well prior to this year, but became better friends after sharing classes together. They decided that this made them perfect candidates to room together, as they were friends but not best friends.

“I didn’t want to know them too closely, because I feel like if it’s someone you know [very well], it could lead to arguments,” Marla said. “I do not want to lose a friendship over a stupid argument.”

Both of them are looking forward to leaving for college in the fall and are glad to be living with someone that is from their hometown. Nair said that it makes her feel comfortable having someone who has experienced a similar education.

“I just feel that having someone from home that you’re comfortable with will help with the homesickness,” Nair said. “A lot of our friends have expressed to us issues about that problem when they travel home. But we won’t have to worry about it.”

Even though both of them will not know if the choice they chose for a roommate will work out until next year, they both said they look forward to the adventures that they will experience together in college.

“It’ll be a fun change,” Nair said. “Going into something like this knowing that you have someone by your side is reassuring and exciting.”

Graphic by Becca Hunter