The summer before freshman year, anytime the word “college” came up, I instantly grinned as the movie version of my first day flashed into my mind. I knew when I walked into my dorm I would find the perfect roommate whose comforter colors complemented mine, of course. While our parents exchanged “hellos,” she would greet me with a giant hug and together we would set up our room.
She would help me hang my posters on the wall, realizing she packed the same ones. As we unpacked our clothes we would see that our closest were filled with the same brands, from workout gear to sweaters. We would be just short of a match made in heaven, embarking on the “college experience” together.
We would be inseparable, the kind of best friends that you hate cuz you ain’t, the two always seen together on campus. One day when we were each other’s maids of honor (obviously) we would remember how a random housing assignment created a lifelong friendship. Cue the “awwww.”
It would be perfect.
Unfortunately, the afterschool special I created in my head wasn’t destined to be. When housing selection finally occurred, I was heartbroken to discover that I had been placed in a forced triple: a room designed for two, but a housing shortage made it a home for three. Did I mention it only had two closets? That’s right. Two closets. Three girls.
“Oh well. I’ll make the best of this,” I told my mom. Nothing was going to ruin the perfect vision I had created. I messaged the girls on Facebook—it would be okay. Now I’d get two best friends for the price of one.
“Hey guys! I’m Emily. I’m so excited to live with you both next year! Where are you from?”
“Hi Emily. I’m Meghan and I’m from New Jersey.”
“I’m Emma and I’m from the same town as Meghan.”
Meghan filled me in on the rest of their lives and how they had requested to live with each other: they were friends from high school. My dream shattered. I was screwed—destined to be the loser third wheel with no friends because your freshman year roommate is supposed to be your best friend for life, right?
What happens when your future BFF already has a best friend? You end up like me, awkward and alone.
Throughout the rest of the summer I made conversation with my future roommates but they already knew everything there was to know about each another. Our group chat turned into my autobiography with no mention of color coordinating comforters. All of the excitement I had vanished. The thought of move-in day became unbearable the closer it got.
I wish I could say that move-in was smooth but it was far from it. Cramming three girls and their parents into a room barely meant for two people was just shy of torturous. That night Meghan and Emma went out with their other friends while I stayed in alone. I turned on Netflix and fell asleep watching Mulan, feeling like an absolute loser. Was this the terrible destiny of my college career?
The next morning, I called my mom in tears.
“It will get better,” she said. And, like always, she was right. The three of us came to live really well together. We weren’t the inseparable “three best friends that anyone could have” but I did gain two really great friends.
We came to consult each other on matters of homesickness and boys and even bought each other mounds of sweets on birthdays. We cheered Meghan on at her a cappella shows and she took pictures of Emma and I, heading off to a club formal. We had deep life chats on the crazy nights we were up until 3 a.m. doing work and brought each other the needed OJ in bed when we were too tired to move on weekend mornings.
On our last night in our comfy shoebox together, we threw a dance party: lots and lots of Taylor Swift. When exhaustion finally settled in, we all hugged before getting into bed. As I climbed up to my loft bed, I realized how different next year was going to be. I was really going to miss living with them. Meghan and Emma had become such a huge part of my freshman year and my life. I couldn’t picture living without them.
What started off as a forced triple nightmare turned out to be better than I ever could have dreamed.