Out of all the stressful things to worry about before your freshman year of college, roommates are one of the major concerns. Thanks to movies and TV shows (Monica and Rachel, anyone?), students often have certain ideas (that aren't necessarily all that accurate) about what it's like to share space with someone else for the first time.
Here are 5 major misconceptions about your freshman year roommate in college, and how you can avoid them.
1. Your best bet is to pick them ahead of time. Some students are afraid to live with someone they don't know, so instead of having a random roommate they select one ahead of time. This isn't always a bad idea, but it also doesn't guarantee things will go off without a hitch. Committing to living with someone full-time is very different from knowing them on a casual basis (like meeting at orientation) or having met someone in an accepted students group online. Sometimes, it's better to let fate take its course and wait until you're paired up by your school. Who knows? You could be a match made in heaven.
2. They're going to be your best friend. Often enough, there are expectations thrust onto roommates that you two will be BFFs for the next four years. This expectation can be a big mistake to make -- just because you live with someone, doesn't mean you're going to be tied at the hip 24/7. Friendships in college can come about in a number of different ways -- don't limit yourself to thinking your roommate absolutely has to be your all-time bestie.
3. You can learn everything about them on social media before you actually meet them. Of course it's tempting to scroll through your future roommate's Facebook page, Twitter feed and Instagram photos before you meet them in person, but be careful not to judge and make assumptions without actually knowing someone. Social media websites can only get you so far, but it's crucial to keep an open mind and realize you won't really get to know someone until you spend time with them at school. Think about it like this: Would you want someone to judge you based on your Facebook alone? (The answer: Probably not.)
4. You don't need to coordinate buying things for your room. One of the biggest mistakes students make is thinking they don't need to talk to their roommates before buying dorm room necessities. Communicating beforehand is one of the most important things you can do in order to make sure you don't end up with two coffee makers in your room. This will help avoid wasting each other's time and money. In fact, communicating will be the key to a successful year living with anyone, so it's best to start talking from day one.
5. When you get to school, your relationship won't require any effort. Sometimes people are under the impression that having a connection with their roommate is instantaneous and doesn't involve much energy or work, but that's not the case. You don't automatically get along with your roommate just because you share a sleeping quarters -- there's more to it than that. A relationship with someone that you will at least spend one year living with demands some attention and care -- you can't automatically assume that things will be smooth sailing because of your titles as roommates. As with any relationship, it's all about the effort you put in.