Freshman Year Housing and How to Survive

By Elizabeth Hilfrank on February 16, 2017

Freshman year has to be one of the weirdest times of one’s life. You move to a new place, take new classes with new teachers, eat a lot of mass-produced food, and you try to find your new niche. As if the transition is not hard enough, the college then decides to throw you into a, most likely, very small room with a stranger.

Freshman year housing and the random roommate assignment. We all waited for it that summer before arrival, checking our emails constantly. When the notification finally arrives, you instantly check all social media to figure out what this person is like, and you debate if you should be the first to send the awkward “hello” message.

My recommendation: do it. Send the message. Be the friendly one because, chances are, that other person behind the screen is just as nervous as you. If you break through the awkwardness early on, that will be one less hurdle to conquer upon arrival. Plus, it’s helpful to plan who is bringing what.

If you’re lucky enough, like I was, then you’ll receive an email with not one, but TWO names attached to it. Congratulations, your life just got 10x more complicated but also 10x more fun.

So how do you live this new style? Especially if you’re used to having your own room? Pro Tip: Go. With. The. Flow.

This may sound cliche, but it has never more true than in this situation. There are going to be things that bother you about each person, and, believe me, after four months together, the semester breaks are needed. But if you remain laid back, your semester will be MUCH more enjoyable.

Take these hints:

1. If someone wants to talk on the phone in the room, let them. As long as it’s not a 24/7 thing, you can deal for a little while.

2. Don’t stress the little things. Everyone has their quirks. Some of them they may not realize are a problem. As long as these people don’t intentionally try to bother you, let it go.

3. If you’re chill, they’ll be chill. Chances are, if you act stressed out, you’re going to stress them out. So why make matters worse?

4. Be the roommate you want. You know what you like and don’t like, so act the way you want your roommate to act, and hopefully, they’ll get the hint.

5. Don’t have high expectations. The lower the ones you set, the happier you’ll be.

I had quite the trio freshman year. We were all pretty different, yet we all made it through the whole year together. While, in the end, I did end up being the classic example of someone who grows closer to one roommate more than the other, I know that I either would still have my back two years later. The key to our success was relaxation. We understood each other’s different habits, and we respected them.

These tips are not just for freshman year either. You’ll move in with your best friends sophomore year and realize all sorts of things about them that you had no idea about. Just keep calm and carry on (one more cliche was necessary here).

Freshman year roommates. First picture together!

Freshman year dorm room

I'm a junior at Gettysburg College with a self-designed major called Writing and Performing Media, and I am a Spanish minor. When I'm not studying, I'm probably running with the cross country or track team, hanging out with my sorority, Alpha Delta Pi, looking at pictures of my dog or eating (mostly desserts). I love all things journalism, and I have a strong passion for storytelling.

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