College roommate search shouldn’t stress you out

Commentary by Bailey Pennington
Times-News correspondent

Bailey Pennington / Times-News

Once a college acceptance letter reaches the hands of a high school senior, the excitement is inevitable. Minds race with the thoughts of moving out, meeting new people, leaving parents and siblings, decorating the dorm and of course … finding a roommate! At first, it seems all fun, until the reality sets in.
   Finding someone to share the first year of your collegiate career sounds like an adventure, but it can be a daunting task. Freshmen usually try to join up with their friends or attempt to room with someone they already know, and although it may seem easier to room with a high school friend, it may keep you from branching out and meeting new people. In order to keep the process simple, there are a few steps to keep in mind:
   It’s best to set personal standards. It is easy to start looking for a roommate with no preferences in mind, but that could be a set up for failure in the long term. Before starting your search, decide whether you are an early bird or a night owl, whether you enjoy blasting your music or keeping quiet, or whether you keep a dirty room or are a neat freak. Believe it or not, these seemingly insignificant details can become an issue for debate once you are living with another person. At the same time, it is best not to be too strict or critical — remember the golden rule.
   Check your school’s website for a roommate finder or join your school’s page on Facebook or other social networking sites. Oftentimes most universities have their own free roommate finder to utilize that can assist in the roommate search. All you have to do is create a profile describing yourself and your preferences. If your particular college or university does not offer a roommate finder, search for your school’s page on social networking sites like Facebook. Usually there are class specific pages that are open to join.
   Begin your search and start communicating. Once you create a roommate finder profile or join your class page (or both) all you have left is to put yourself out there. Begin searching for people with similar preferences or qualities; and don’t be afraid to be the first to take the initiative to send the first message or friend request. Once you begin talking to other people, you can exchange cell phone numbers or even decide to meet. On the other hand, you may decide to move on to someone else.
   Do not get discouraged. If at first no one responds to your messages or questions, it’s OK. It may seem like many other boys or girls already have found their roommates or are refusing to respond, but it is not the end of the world. Keep searching or you can always choose to do random assignment with your school’s housing application. Plus, if all else fails and you cannot find a roommate, at least you met some new classmates in the process.
   With all these tips in mind, the roommate process should be a less daunting task. After all, it is the start of college and it’s meant to be exciting and enjoyable. Finding a potential “roomie” should not add additional stress to what should be one of the happiest times of your life.

Bailey Pennington is a rising freshman at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Teens & Twenties writer.

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