Going into college, there’s always some apprehension about living away from home. There’s so many things to decide on from which dorm to live in, to which type of room you want, and, importantly, who you’ll be living with if anyone. I decided my freshman year to go with an entirely random roommate and for weeks was worried about it, but it ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve made in college.
Roommates can be tricky because sharing a small space together while finding a balance between your two living conditions always is, but there’s far more benefits than costs. Freshman year is always the easiest year to meet new people. Everyone wants to make friends and is still figuring out what clubs they want to do and how to even navigate the school at all. There’s so many different people to meet, and, with a roommate, you end up with twice the amount.
At USC, the housing portal matching system almost guarantees you will have something in common with your new roommate. This helps because roommates don’t necessarily have to be your best friends, even though they might be. Your roommate will always be someone to go to the dining hall with to eat or the library to study. It gives you a solid anchor in what otherwise can be a turbulent sea of faces as you’re settling in with new friends.
One of my favorite memories from freshman year is going to vote with my two roommates. None of the three of us had ever voted before, knew anything about Californian politics, or understood what the process would be like, but we were all 18 and ready to try to exercise our newfound political power. We made the decision to try and vote around 5 in the evening after all the polls offered on USC’s campus had already closed. Going 25 minutes away in an uber we found a polling location that offered registration and voting on the same day. Once we got there, we saw a line stretching all the way around the building. If any of us had gone on our own that would’ve been enough to call the whole thing off, but with all of us in the mindset of an adventure we stuck around for the next 3 hours, talking and finding ways to pass the time. We made it back sometime after 10 at night, and it was absolutely a ridiculous amount of effort that three non-Californians put in to vote in a local election. However, it was all worth it for the time that we spent together. That was never something I would’ve planned to do with new friends but was the perfect thing to end up doing with my roommates.
As a senior now, I still keep in touch with both of my roommates even though all three of us have different majors and groups of friends we spend time with. It’s still a connection we all have even though we ended up settling in different areas of the school. While it’s something that can be found at other schools, USC really helps make freshman year roommates feel better because there are so many different passions and directions people can take within the school, but it gives the opportunity to make those connections with students you normally wouldn’t see on campus. If I had to do it again, I would choose to have roommates again every time.