Q&A: Rooming and roommates in college

With Adam Pelberg, SHS class of 2019


With Adam Pelberg, SHS class of 2019 and current freshman at Northwestern University.

When it comes to junior and senior year, nothing seems more daunting than the word “college.” With it, comes applications, visits, the idea of a new life, and a new group of friends. Many of us can agree that some of the scariest aspects of college are the idea of roommates and the dorms. For a bunch of us, we have had the pleasure of having our own room or sharing ours with close relatives. But, what is it like to be forced to live someone you have never met before? How do you share a living space with a complete stranger? Is it really as bad as it seems? Now, what about the dorms? If you are interested in finding out the answers to these questions, read on to hear advice from a stellar 2019 graduate: Adam Pelberg.

Do you recommend rooming with someone you know or doing random rooming?

“Personally, going to a college where I didn’t know anyone other than through social media, I’d definitely recommend doing random. It’s a really great way to meet someone new and have a fresh start going into college. Also, most colleges have questionnaires to match you with someone who shares the same sleep/study schedule which can make the transition a lot easier.”

What was your first experience with your roommate? Was it awkward? 

“My first experience with my roommate was over Facebook messenger, and we just asked each other basic questions. It was a little awkward because in the back of our minds we were definitely just wondering whether we’d like each other. There’s really nothing to worry about though. I haven’t really heard of anyone at NU not getting along with their roommate, and I really like mine. The other thing to remember is it’s ok not to be best friends with your roommate. Just getting along and being friendly is really what matters.”

Are there any ground rules you recommend setting with your roommate? 

Ground rules are definitely important. Certain things such as cleanliness, visitors, and study/ quiet times can definitely be a source of contention. Setting these things straight early is really helpful. I would also recommend discussing sleep schedules because it’s important to remember that even if you have a late class one day, your roommate might not and you can be woken up earlier than you intended.”

What was it like for you to move from your room at home to new dorm room? 

“Living in a dorm room is definitely a transition (as is all of college). I’ve been going to sleep away camp for a while so I’m used to living without much space, but it’s definitely been interesting adjusting to dorm life. I think what helps me most is trying to spend as much time outside the room as possible (in lounges, etc). You meet a lot of people this way and definitely don’t feel as cramped.”

What’s your favorite part of your dorm and why? 

My favorite part of living in a dorm is being so close to your friends. Back home all of my friends were a 10 min drive, which isn’t a ton of time but realistically it was hard to see them daily. I love how at college you see all of your friends every day, and they’re oftentimes just down the hall from you so you can more easily socialize and form great bonds quicker.”