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The Daily Tar Heel

Column: Take a chance and let Carolina Housing choose your roommate

DTH Photo Illustration. Carolina Housing materials clutter a desk.

My decision to "go random" and live with someone for nine and a half months whom I knew nothing about was actually unintentional.

The spring and summer before your first year of college is a time period like no other. The combination of firsts and lasts are all so overwhelming. It was especially scary because I was worried I’d be roommate-less, or worse, homeless. I’d waited till the last possible day of Carolina’s Housing application to DM roughly 400 prospective UNC freshman girls on Instagram to see if they had also waited this long to figure out where they were living and who they were living with.

I’m from a larger suburban town in North Carolina, so I regularly run into people I had sixth grade social studies with on campus. This experience is dissimilar to lots of students at UNC, who come from different continents, small rural towns and bustling urban cities — they won't find anyone from their hometown on campus, and most of the time, they like it that way.

I always imagined I’d attend college far away. But it turns out that UNC was the best opportunity for me, even though it isn't thousands of miles away. Regardless, I sought to act like I was in a new, foreign place and make totally new connections at college, despite being 30 minutes away from home. 

I could’ve just roomed with a good friend from my hometown, high school or literal neighborhood; instead, to contribute to all this newness, I decided to go random with my roommate. What antics would we get into? Would we be close friends? Would she be a morning person and hate me, a definite night owl? 

I was leaving all of that to discover on my own.

Thankfully, this story doesn’t end with me on Dateline in a pool of blood all over my murderous roommate’s Dormify rug. 

My roommate and I turned out to be really good friends. I wanted to spend time with her outside of our shared dorm, but what I really found so special about going random is that you get to truly develop who you are.

Nobody from my sixth grade social studies class had to see me roll out of bed and barely make it to my 9:05 a.m. Monday/Wednesday/Friday class and judge that I used to be more punctual to my safety patrol duties back in my middle school days. Instead of already knowing when my roommate likes to go to the gym, and knowing we undoubtedly will not go together, I got to learn as we lived side-by-side and explore our different ways together.

We also had the ability to set boundaries with each other since we were meeting as adults. Sometimes I needed my me-time in the room, and she did too. For me, it would’ve been far more difficult to ask someone I’ve known for years if they could let me have a few hours in the room when they’ve known me with braces and prepubescent acne.

I got to experience living on my own — no longer in my parent’s house — for the first time with someone totally new that further enhanced the the exciting nature of it all.

Admittedly, for some people the random rooming situation doesn’t always work out to be the built-in best friend situation like it did for me, but choosing to live all year with a stranger will most likely only create a new friendship and not terminate a previous one.

I never spoke to my roommate on the phone before move-in or really told her any of my hobbies. I informed her via DM I was undoubtedly buying a white duvet for my twin XL bed even if I’d inevitably stain it. She welcomed this decision and from there, she became an inseparable part of my life and first year of college.

It might be intimidating to live with someone you don’t know, but they also don’t know you.

So, take the leap and go random.



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