As you click your heels while striding away from the suffocating bubble of high school, you revel in the new sense of freedom that you have just attained. High school is behind you; your limitless college future lies ahead. Yet, at the same time, that undefined, unregulated future offers a wobbly uncertainty will you find your place in college? Did you make the right decision when picking your major and school? Are you going to make friends that will accept all of your quirks? The doubt is ceaseless, but there’s one key question that poses the most daunting uncertainty: what will you do about your housing situation?
As someone who’s been through this before, I can tell you hands down that random doubles are the way to go. Here are the top 10 reasons why you should opt for a random double your freshman year.
1. You’ll have a built-in friend
Entering college, you think that everything seems foreign — the campus, the student body, the culture. It can be difficult to find a friend amidst the hustle and bustle of college life. But that’s exactly what your roommate’s for! While you and your roommate might not know each other too well beforehand, you’ll have an immediate familiar face in this unfamiliar setting. You’ll have the opportunity to start a brand-new friendship with someone that will undoubtedly be instrumental to your college experience. Cornell University sophomore Ashley Park recalled “waking each other up for class enrollment or ranting to one another about personal problems… it was a really great experience having someone I could immediately depend on and go to for everything.”
2. Singles can be lonely. Triples and quads can be too much
Doubles offer the perfect balance when it comes to first-year housing. Though they provide more privacy, singles can be very insulating and isolated. The opposite problem arises in triples and quads: you’ll never have any alone time. Luckily, doubles strike a middle ground between the different housing options. In a double, you’ll live with only one other person, which supplies you with a healthy amount of social interaction. At the same time, it still allows for some time to have the room to yourself and relax without any interruptions.
3. You’re introduced to a brand-new perspective.
Universities are known for attracting individuals from diverse walks of life, drawing them together as one unified campus. Though selecting a roommate beforehand might seem like a safer option, you’re more likely to choose someone who shares a similar background as you. Getting a random double, however, allows you to meet someone from a completely different culture with different values as the ones you may be used to. Privi Venkat, a freshman at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, described her roommate experience: “I’m originally from the Bay Area in California and my roommate is an international student from China. It was definitely new for me to meet someone from a totally different background, but I’ve learned so so much about Chinese culture, foods, and values.”
4. You learn to be considerate of someone else’s space.
Whether you’ve had roommates your entire life or you’ve never had to share a room with anyone before, a random double practically forces you to be more aware of your surroundings. What do you learn by living with someone new? “To be more understanding and thoughtful of the other’s time and space. You just learn to take care of your things, put your possessions away, and clean up after yourself,” Cornell sophomore Veronica Serrano described. Having roommates also holds you more accountable for maintaining the cleanliness of your room, a skill that will undoubtedly be useful during your college years and further down the line.
5. You’re encouraged to try new things.
By nature, humans are drawn to others that share similarities with them. It’s easy to group yourself with individuals from the same state or the same major. However, since your random roommate may hail from any background and be studying any major, you’re bound to live with someone with different interests and quirks. You’ll, therefore, be exposed to their hobbies, habits, and passions — giving you the opportunity to branch out and try something out of your comfort zone. Who knows? Your random double might lead to a spontaneous skydiving expedition or a newfound obsession with The Office.
6. You won’t have to “meet an expectation” of a chosen roommate.
Selecting a roommate beforehand is often tempting: you can choose someone that you relate with before you enter college and be done with it. However, this also comes with the lofty expectation that you and your roommate should be best friends from the get-go. There’s an unwritten assumption that you’ll both click right away and do everything together, as well as a fear that you might not be enough for your roommate. “When you choose a roommate, I feel like there’s a lot of stress that comes with it. You have to worry about who would be the best fit and then stress out about whether or not you’ll disappoint them. I chose to go random so I could come into college as a blank slate without any expectations for a roommate,” Boston University freshman Brandon Bellati described.
7. You learn to communicate with your roommate.
The key to every relationship? Communication. “My roommate and I got along, but we were also really different. I would sleep in a lot while she was a morning person. I would shower and go to bed super late while she was already tucked in bed and asleep. Getting a random double taught me how to communicate with my roommate to establish living habits we were both comfortable with,” Cornell sophomore Vanessa Olguin explained. Having a random roommate allows you to learn more about handling interpersonal relationships. It helps you handle conflict, vocalize your opinions and cooperate to reach compromise.
8. You’ll have someone to enter the party scene with.
College is supposed to be a time of experimentation; this often comes with the connotations of wild ragers and binge-drinking in frat basements. Yet, as fun as it sounds, it’s difficult to break into the party scene your freshman year without a friend. Once again, your roommate’s there to save the day. Jorryn Tovera, a sophomore at UC Santa Barbara, recounted, “The first day I came to college, I didn’t really know my roommate at all. But that night, we went out together and got so close as we drank on the beach. He even cleaned my barf up for me.” You’ll have a buddy to hang out with, to get plastered with, and to take care of you if things get too crazy.
9. You won’t have to enter the dining hall alone.
Without question, one of the most terrifying college experiences is walking into the dining halls for the first time. Surrounded by students buzzing through the hall with ravenous determination, it’s easy to feel intimidated and lost. Where do you sit? How does everyone already know what to do? What if you don’t find a group to eat with? Luckily, you and your roomie can stick with each other and learn the workings of the dining hall together. Cornell University sophomore Alecia Wilk explained, “Jumping into freshman year was super scary, but having a roommate made things much more manageable. Like the dining halls! It was just nice to have someone to go to the dining hall with… it would have been way more intimidating on my own.”
10. You’ll challenge yourself to grow.
By selecting a random double as your freshman year housing, you’re taking a complete gamble; a random roommate adds another layer of fear on top of the existing anxiety that comes with entering college as a first-year. But in doing so, you are making the conscious decision to challenge yourself and take a step outside of your comfort zone. You’ll learn to live with another individual, adjust to having a roommate, and befriend someone with different interests. Though it’s intimidating to pile on more uncertainty on your college experience, this will push you to learn more about yourself and expand your comfort zone in this new walk of life.