This upcoming month Zachery, Connie, and I will all be sharing some of our personal experiences with random roommates. We all lived in different buildings at different times with very different experiences.
When I was a freshman Cambridge Commons didn't exist and RiverView was only a year and a half old. My first choice was to live in RiverView and be a part of the Theater Learning Living Community (now called The Visual Arts LLC). I started out my college career as a double major in German and Communication, but I had a huge interest in the arts. It turned out it was a really great way to meet people.
My move in experience was a little unusual. I got a job working in an office in Sandburg, so I was asked to move in two weeks before the normal move in date. When I first moved into RiverView, it was me, the Resident Assistance staff, and two other residents. It was a little bit lonely, but I got to know some of the RAs really well.
When it came time for everyone else to move in, I had to work while my roommate, Angela, moved in. When I got back she wasn't there but all of her stuff was. Now, let me explain something. I like color and a lot of it. My goal was to get as much color as possible into that room as possible. My bedspread was rainbow, desk accessories were all different colors, my hangers were even four different colors. When I walked into my room all of my roommates belongings were black, grey, or white. Everything she hadn't unpacked was in white or black bags (except for the Twilight Board Game, of course). It made me a little bit nervous about how our styles were going to be different.
When I met her one of the first things she said was, "Don't worry. The rest of my stuff is really colorful." From then we really hit it off.
Angela and all of her friends from high school had all planned on living in RiverView together. While I was still working on getting connected, she already was surrounded by her best friends. For the first couple of weeks we spent a lot of time together and with her friends, but after a while I started to make my own.
We lived very similar lifestyles. Angela and I both stayed up late and hated mornings, drank enough coffee for everyone in RiverView, and thought that our letters from Hogwarts had been misplaced when we were 11 years old. From the beginning we were both open with each other about what bothered us. Luckily we were also very compatible that way too. If there was anything that bothered either of us, we talked about it.
For the rest of the year we remained close and enjoyed spending time together, but spent less and less time with each other outside of the room. Angela and I don't keep in touch that well anymore, but it is always really nice to see her around campus.
If I had one piece of advice when it came to roommates it would be this: Communication. (And this isn't just because I am a communication major). The first week that you live together come up with some ground rules about what you expect from each other. Write it down and stick it up on the wall. That way you can always reference back to it. You can always go back and change the rules together if you realize something isn't working for you. If something is bothering you, talk about it. If you bottle up your anger then you could potentially ruin your entire relationship. Trust me, there is nothing worse in the world than not liking going back to where you live.
Sharing a room or a suite with someone can really bring you together. Make sure you communicate and get to know the people you are living with. It can really make your experience of living in the Residence Halls even better.