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(Not) A Roommate Horror Story

Ren discusses how their randomly assigned roommate became a best friend.

Ren discusses how their randomly assigned roommate became a best friend.

One of my biggest fears upon entering college was being randomly assigned a roommate. I had never shared my room with anyone before, much less with someone I didn’t know, and had no idea what to expect. I’m also an introvert, so meeting new people can be really scary! I think most first-years experience the same nervousness; you’re definitely not alone in having worries about this.

To try and assuage some of these worries, I’ll first share some things that my roommate and I did before we met to help the introduction process. I’ll also share things that we do together now as close friends—a roommate-definitely-not-horror story, if you will!


Us three years after becoming roommates!


After committing to college in the spring, you’ll receive a short housing survey. It asks questions like, “how late do you like to go to bed?” and, “how messy are you on a scale from 1-10?” Our Office of Residential Life will use these answers to form roommate pairings. They notify you about your roommate in mid-summer! My roommate and I started talking over text almost immediately after receiving our pairing information.

One thing that really helped us feel comfortable with each other before moving in together was chatting a lot over text. We discussed our academic interests, families, how we wanted to set up our room, and shared all of our worries about moving into college and leaving home (there were lots).

We also talked about expectations for living together. For example, I had to know and agree to her friends coming over beforehand and vice-versa. We also agreed to keep the room pretty clean (or, at least, whoever made the mess had to keep it on their side of the room) and that neither of us wanted people in our room after midnight.


Our plant succulents are also besties! Unfortunately, they both died after our freshman fall term 🙁


We also talked a lot during move-in. We continued getting to know each other during New Student Week (Carleton’s first-year orientation program) and through a class that we shared! We started having nightly dinners together where we’d discuss our days, even adding movie nights into our weekend routine during winter term. We bonded through our shared hatred of math, Harry Potter & Twilight movie marathons, and baking Pillsbury cookies in our dorm kitchen. By the end of our freshman year, my randomly assigned roommate felt more like family to me than a friend.


Here we are at The Blast, Northfield’s best ice cream shop!


I can’t believe how lucky I am that one of my biggest fears coming into college was a roommate, and we’re now so close! A lot of other Carls share this experience—though there are some, I’ve heard very few bad roommate stories here. It’s actually most common for random, freshman pairings to room together until they graduate.

Okay, I have to sign off now—it’s time for dinner and a movie!

Breakfast for dinner is the best!



Ren (they/them) grew up catching salamanders, recklessly climbing trees, and running around barefoot in the Appalachian Mountains in a small town in North Carolina. They are a junior double major in art history and studio art, and love spending time in the arb, Sayles Hill Campus Center, and the Weitz Center for Creativity. Ren is the co-president of Carleton’s QuestBridge chapter, and also works with other equity programs on campus.