If you’re a high school senior, you’re likely narrowing in on your Christian college of choice, or have already committed for the coming school year. One of your next decisions will be the important and fun step of selecting a roommate! If you’re already attending college, you too may be thinking about a roommate choice for the coming school year. It’s a decision that has huge ramifications upon your day-to-day life and is something to take seriously. We’ve listed some considerations to keep in mind as you make your selection.
Use Technology. These days there are more possibilities than ever before for connecting with a roommate that’s a great fit. While some Christian colleges still use a more traditional “housing application” to pair you up with someone your freshman year, others are allowing the process to be more free-flowing and choice-based. Many schools use apps like ZeeMee or RoomSync to allow prospective students to interact, form friendships and find potential roommates. Other Christian colleges offer personalized portals where you can link up with prospective students, tour residence halls and find info about housing options without ever stepping foot on campus. Make sure you take advantage of these opportunities! And don’t hesitate to conduct “research” via social media once you’ve been assigned to a roommate. If possible, reach out and get to know each other via texting or a phone call so you can get to know each other before sharing a living space.
Aim for Compatibility. When choosing a roommate, look for someone as similar to you as possible. This will help you avoid common areas of conflict. Areas to consider include the following: sleeping habits (night person vs. morning person), social habits (extrovert, introvert or somewhere in the middle); cleaning habits (neat freak or don’t care) and noise level preferences (music and TV bother you or relax you). It’s best to be open and honest about your pet peeves up front. Good communication beforehand can save you from signing up with someone who doesn’t mesh with your needs and preferences. It’s also a bonus if you and your roommate have some common interests!
Use Intuition. Here’s where taking time for a phone call (or even better–an in-person visit if possible) can be especially helpful. Voice-to-voice and face-to-face always offer more clues than simply texting! After a conversation or two, make a decision and don’t ignore the “red flags” you see. Oftentimes your gut will tell you if you’ve found someone you really gel with or if you ought to keep looking for a better fit. Don’t feel guilty passing up an opportunity to room with someone you’ve met online or via an app. It’s possible you’ve found someone with whom you might enjoy just hanging out. People who make great friends do not always make ideal roommates. It’s okay to keep looking until you find someone who feels like a comfortable match.
Be Realistic. Remember there is no perfect roommate! You’re not perfect either, so hold your expectations loosely and realize that no matter who you choose, there are always going to be unseen weaknesses which will grate you the wrong way. That unavoidable “rub” happens whenever you live with a fellow sinner, and is part of what God uses to round off our rough edges and sanctify us! So go into the situation with a humble attitude that is ready to be stretched and changed for the better. As you commit to handling the inevitable conflicts with grace and forgiveness you will find that you’re strengthened and blessed.
Pray for Him/Her. Whether you get the privilege of choosing your roommate or end up being assigned to one, a huge thing you can do to prepare for the upcoming year is to begin praying now for whoever you’ll be living with. Ask God to work in his or her heart and to mold them into His likeness. Pray that you will be an encouragement as you enter into the joys and challenges of communal living and that God will grow you in your willingness to be selfless, to compromise, to serve and to forgive. This “soil preparation” will begin to till up any hard places in both your hearts so that something good might grow between you as you do life together in the coming months!