Roommate search stresses rising college students


Sophia Veizis

Senior Sophia Vezis posts a collection of photos and a short bio in the University of Maryland 2023 Facebook group in order to find a roommate.

By Eliza Asbury, Online Editor-in-Chief

Some say it’s more stressful than applying to college. Some say it’s harder than writing all those essays. It’s more than proving yourself; it’s making yourself seem chill, smart, desirable and fun all at once. It’s the search for a college roommate.

For seniors opting out of the random roommate program, yet another stressor has joined their plates. As the college acceptances roll in, the college Facebook groups fill up and the endless posts appear that we scroll through in search of someone to be our best friend for the next four years. Not to scare anyone away, but the process is harder than it looks.

“It’s actually so stressful because you want to make yourself look cool to the person you are talking to, but at the same time not too blown out of proportion, because I feel like you need to find a roommate you are comfortable with,” senior Sophia Veizis said.

The path to finding a roommate entails something like this:

  1. Join the school’s “Class of 2023” Facebook group
  2. Find people you have things in common with
  3. Like their post
  4. Follow them on Instagram
  5. Direct message them

That has become the new precedent set by high school seniors in recent years. However, for a lucky few, they can avoid the stress and find a roommate through mutual friends.

“I found my roommate through a camp friend,” senior Alexis Weinstein said. “My camp friend told me about her and said we would like each other, so she gave us each other’s phone numbers and we started talking a lot. We were able to meet over a weekend and became roommates.”

But even with the “easier” options to finding roommates, the stress remains of adjusting to living with a with a new person in a new place for a year. The uncertainty of their personality, habits and lifestyle can be overwhelming.

“The most stressful part was not really knowing anything about these people, like how their personality actually is,” Weinstein said. “Even though I had a lot of similarities with people, it’s hard to know what they are like as an actual person just from a few pictures and small talk.”

The small talk can be a challenge in itself, too. Although the conversations occur/transpire over social media, with no face-to-face interaction, talking to new people while wanting to make a good impression takes great effort.

“There’s definitely pressure to make myself look and sound cool,” Veizis said. “I’m also making my Instagram feed look better as well as my VSCO.”

In some aspects, the college roommate search can almost be like an online dating process. Small talk can be awkward, and it can be hard to convey each others personalities over text.

“My process started with me posting in the Facebook group, and then people would reach out to me over Instagram direct message or I would reach out to people that I saw and liked in the group,” senior Emma Sumberg said. “But it’s also kind of strange finding a roommate by making conversation with complete strangers to see if they would be a good fit to room with.”

Additionally, there is only so much that can be discussed when texting new people without repeating information or sounding too weird. Hence, the conversations tend to be pretty boring.

“I would usually start out with talking about a similar interest or major, mutual friends, and where they’re from or things like that,” Weinstein said.

Naturally, of course, this big decision also comes with some sort of criteria to finding the right one.

“I would ask if they are neat or messy, if they like to go out and how they are with studying, so we didn’t run into any big issues,” Weinstein said. “But to me, it was most important to find somebody i would get along with and if there were smaller issues we could address them later.”

So, after all of this stress and anxiety and pressure, you must be wondering why people do it. Why not just opt for the random roommate and hope for the best. While for some that option may turn out a success, some believe being in control of their roommates, with all the stress and everything that comes with it, will be worth it.

“I was never tempted to do random because I knew I would feel less anxiety knowing my roommate going into college and being able to connect with them beforehand,” Sumberg said.