A Dream or A Nightmare?

Most college housing applications ask you if you have a roommate preference. Chances are, you will know at least one person who's going to the same school as you, and if already know someone well from home (or maybe even someone you met and bonded with while visiting), you might logically think of living with them freshman year. After all, this can give you a certain measure of comfort as you make the often-difficult transition to college: the whole "roommate thing" will be one less issue to worry about!

Sure, the thought of living with a friend goes through most students' minds when they see "Roommate Preference." You might figure: "It's a sure bet; there's no way I'll have roommate problems because this is one of my best friends. He has no annoying habits." The thought of living with your best friend with your favorite music always playing and the room decorated just how you like it is a tempting one. For friends who attend the same school, this vision seems like a dream. Unfortunately, this dream could also be a nightmare.

As close as you are with your friend, chances are you have not lived with him or her for any month-long period before, much less an entire year. Sure, you probably had several get-togethers where you spent the night at each other's house - but this is not just a sleepover. This is living in a 10 x 10 room for a whole year, and it can get very tight, very quickly.

There are some details that maybe you don't think about when considering your friend as a roommate. Is your friend messy or lazy? Are you? Does your friend have any annoying habits that bother you? If so, multiply your amount of aggravation by 200, because you will be dealing with that habit everyday. Does you friend get easily annoyed by you? How serious of a student is your friend? Do you have the same goals for college? Are you too similar? If you are thinking about living with a friend, ponder these questions before deciding anything.

Time and time again, friends room together and sometimes it works out great, but other times life becomes hell and a great friendship is ruined. People grow and mature at different paces in college; consequently people change. There is a chance that you and your friend will grow apart and start enjoying different things. For example, one of you might decide to join a fraternity or sorority while the other one despises the Greek life. Also, you may hang out with a different group of people. This is hard because you may feel overshadowed by the new people in your friend's life. In high school, especially by your senior year, you are friends with people you have known for a long period of time. You grew up together, so your differences were not that big of a deal.

Rooming with your friend could be the greatest decision you make; you may even become closer with your friend. But before signing their name down, think first. Think about all the possibilities and recognize your differences. Ask yourself if you could live side by side for a whole year.

By Matt Phipps