“Cranston’s Best and Brightest” was a celebration of the top seniors in the city of Cranston, Rhode Island. It’s also where I met the girl who would become my freshman year roommate at Boston College. Thanks, Mayor Fung.
I was thankful to have met someone in person; it saved me from the classic freshman route of the random housing process, which involved a strange roommate portal resembling a dating site. My future roomie and I were able to go on dorm shopping trips (more like an excuse to get to know each other without sitting in awkward silence) and we even swam in my pool that summer.
When it came down to it, we didn’t have much in common. We were both well aware of this just weeks before midterms began. She was even-keeled though, and we knew each other fairly well by the time we unpacked our things and hung our posters. I saw this as a privilege compared to those pairs who first meet on move-in day. In short, I told people that she was a suitable roommate. We weren’t friends, but we weren’t overly hostile either. This was livable. This was why we agreed to be roommates for our sophomore year and take it from there in terms of finding others to make a suite.
As baby freshmen, we were unaware of the doom of sophomore housing. Boston College housing, if it was in the dictionary, would read, “see: HELL.” Everyone agrees. They say to make your friends in groups of eight so that you can attempt to achieve the glorified eight-man suites. But if the lottery isn’t in your favor, you have to kick two of your friends to the curb to get a six-man, or split in half. And it complicates from there, tearing apart groups of friends and causing many tears and outrage amongst fresh-women specifically.
I always told myself, upon hearing the fables around campus of housing horrors, that I would not cry over housing. And yet, mere days before the process began, I found myself sitting in the stairwell of the dining hall, tears beady on my work uniform, venting to my parents through sobs that at the very last minute my roommate had bailed on me for another girl I didn’t know. It was almost like getting dumped by a boyfriend, except worse, probably. I had no roommate for sophomore year.
The issue was that it was so late in the process that nearly everyone I knew had already solidified living arrangements. I moped whenever my roommate wasn’t around, thinking I would just succumb to the random process because what else could I do? But one night in a fit of procrastination from papers, I took to Facebook.
The class of 2016 Facebook group had been streaming with, “Looking for 1 to complete an eight-man!” So I took a wild chance outside of my usually shy persona and contacted a group, making plans to meet them for dinner a few nights later.
The seven girls I met with in the dining hall became my seven sophomore year roommates – we had the luck that every incoming sophomore hopes for in achieving an eight-man suite. Although we were faced with the major bummer of having to clean our own bathrooms, we relished the infamous common room, where we had space to have guests or do homework together and where the rule of no coffee makers finally didn’t apply. Any decorations we hung stayed up for the entire year, meaning that the plastic leprechauns for St. Patrick’s Day saw us through long nights of finals studying in May. Our common room was the nucleus of our eight-man suite, and as the year progressed it became even more of a beautiful mess.
A few months into second semester sophomore year, I realized the silver lining to one of the worst experiences. Campus was abuzz with freshman conversations of eight-mans and blocking quads, tears from being split up, and looks on faces like the end of the world was near. I smirked at them because by this time my living situation was even better than I could have imagined. I realized that when I reentered the housing process with no expectations, I learned more about myself than I ever could have from living with a group of best friends or a “suitable roommate.” I learned how to put myself out there and take a risk. My accidental roommates accepted me and taught me how to accept others without judgment. By appreciating the differences in our personalities, I began to appreciate my own uniqueness. And today, my accidental roommates are family.