Dorming Dilemma: A Guide to College Living Arrangements

Roommates can make or break your experience at college. You can find your new best friend, or you can discover your biggest nightmare. With plenty of rooming options, it can seem overwhelming. From random roommates to living alone, college presents plenty of options for rooming. Here are the pros and cons of the different college living arrangements.

Random Roommates

Living with a random roommate in college is the easiest way to meet new people. Obviously, the more roommates you add to the equation, the more people you will meet. Going the random route is perfect if you are going away to school and do not know a lot of people. A random roommate is like a built-in friend, and together you can navigate your campus’ uncharted territory.

The plan can also backfire horribly. Because you do not know the person you are living with, they could have completely different priorities as you. Luckily, most universities at least attempt to match roommates based off of studying, partying and sleeping habits.

My freshman year I went into a random rooming situation with three random roommates, only to discover the other three people knew each other and were already friends. I was lucky enough that I got along very well with all of my roommates, but there were moments when I wanted to die because I felt like an outsider.


Rooming with a Friend

While in college, I lived with my best friend while studying abroad and I lived with a friend my senior year. My best friend and I worked perfectly as roommates, knowing when we needed space and how to give it to each other. Living with a friend, unfortunately, did not work so well. We still talk, but barely.

The problem with rooming with a friend is that you are not as conscious of their feelings. With a random roommate, you tone yourself down and try to be as well behaved as possible because you are still in the polite stage of your relationship. With a friend, you have already bypassed the polite stage and feel that because they already know you, you can live however you want.

Living with a friend can work out perfectly, but it can also end in a ruined friendship. If you want to live with a friend, wait until you are out of the dorms and can live in an apartment. Roommates are a lot more tolerable when you have separate bedrooms.

Living Alone

Going solo might not sound like the most exciting living arrangement. You have to furnish the entire place, clean the entire place and pay for all the rent and utilities. However, living without a roommate can be an incredible learning experience. It teaches you responsibility, and you do not have to worry about a roommate paying rent late or eating all your food. Also, you can live as comfortably as you want. Do you hate pants? No problem. When you are the only person living in your apartment or dorm, you don’t have to wear pants.

Living alone can also get really lonely. Sure, there isn’t anyone coming home at 3 a.m. and waking you up, but sometimes the silence is too much. If you are an introvert who struggles meeting new people, living alone is definitely not ideal. While you can always meet and befriend neighbors, chances are you won’t have a bond as strong as one with a roommate. Another downside of living alone is that if you are sick, bored or just lazy, there is no one to take care of you.

College living arrangements work differently for everyone. Some people work best left to their own devices, and others are better as a team. Luckily, there are plenty of options for you to try and find your perfect fit. And if roommates and living alone don’t work, there’s always living with your parents.

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