8 Reasons To Room With A Total Stranger In College

by Kat Kuehl

Without a doubt, one of the toughest parts of navigating your first year in college is determining who the heck you should share your postage stamp-sized dorm room with. You may think that you'll be better off rooming with a friend who is attending the same school, or even just an acquaintance from your high school — at least you know they're not a serial killer, right? But, I'm here to convince you that rooming with a stranger in college is the way to go.

I faced a similar dilemma before my first year in college. However, since I basically knew nobody who would be attending my same school, the decision was pretty much made for me. I roomed with a total stranger.

I'll admit, I was a little nervous. I had heard many of the same horror stories that you probably have, and living with a complete stranger is undoubtedly a little awkward at first. We barely spoke for a few weeks. Then, something just clicked, and she was my best friend throughout the rest of our college years.

Can I guarantee that you'll have a similar experience by shacking up with a stranger? No. But, I still think there are numerous benefits to stepping out of your comfort zone, and sharing a room with someone you've never met. Still aren't convinced? Here are eight reasons to room with a stranger in college.

1. You might meet your new best friend

Pardon me for sounding unbearably cheesy for a moment, but if I hadn't roomed with a stranger in college, I would've missed out on meeting one of my best friends. There's no guarantee that you and your new roommate will hit it off. But, it's definitely worth a try!

2. They don't have any preconceived notions about who you are

College is your chance to branch out and reinvent yourself. That's pretty tough to do if you're constantly two feet away from someone you went to high school with. Your new roommate won't have any preconceived notions about who you are, other than what they can glean from your social media accounts. So, it'll be much easier for you to try new things and reinvent certain parts of yourself.

3. You're more likely to try new things

Speaking of trying new things, your new roommate will probably be the perfect person to push you out of your comfort zone and expand your horizons. My roommate and I had completely different interests, opposite tastes in music, and contrasting styles. While we didn't always agree on everything, we definitely challenged each other to think of things differently or try new things.

4. You'll get used to handling uncomfortable situations

Let's face it — sharing an incredibly tiny space with a stranger is awkward at first. And, even after you warm up to each other a bit, you're still going to run into your fair share of uncomfortable moments and conversations. Whether your roommate needs to remind you that it's your turn to take out the trash, or you need to ask her to stop dumping her stuff on your desk, there are going to be conversations you'd rather not have. I hate to break it to you, but this is a fitting introduction to "real life." As an adult, you're going to need to navigate your way through awkward conversations and situations. Might as well get used to it now.

5. You have a built-in companion

Perhaps you've neglected to think of it this way, but your new roommate is also taking a chance and rooming with a stranger. So, you both already have one pretty big thing in common. Whether she chose to room with you because she doesn't know too many people at your college, or she's looking for a chance to start fresh, you can instantly bond over your shared risk.

6. You can escape hometown drama once and for all

I heard so many stories about people who chose to room with friends from high school. No matter where they attended college, I feel like they never actually escaped the confines of our high school. They were still so consumed with hometown drama (ugh), that they pretty much missed out on the whole "college experience." Don't fall into this trap. Even if your roommate ends up being terrible, it's still better than feeling like you never left high school.

7. You'll learn a lot about yourself

I'm not sure if every college does this, but I sure hope they do! Before the school could assign me with a random roommate, they made me fill out this personality assessment. It had all sorts of different questions — about everything from my taste in music and approach to studying, to whether I was an early bird or night owl. It almost felt like I was signing up for an online dating site. Sure, filling out the personality test helped me see a lot of things I already knew about myself down on paper. But, actually living with a stranger made me realize that a lot of the things I thought I already knew about myself weren't necessarily true.

8. If nothing else, you'll have great stories

I don't want to trick you into thinking that rooming with someone you've never met will be a walk in the park. It can definitely be a challenge at times. And, I can't guarantee that you'll have a great experience like I did. Perhaps your roommate will turn out to be a total nutcase. But, even if that happens, at least you'll get some great stories out of the deal!

Images: Blondinrikard Fröberg/Flickr; Giphy (8)