To go random, or not to go random: advice for incoming freshman about choosing roommates

Growing up without siblings meant the only people I interacted with around my house were my parents. For the most part, I was used to having my own room, a place that served as my personal sanctuary after a long and tiring day, and I cherished the ability to come back to an empty space and decompress by myself. When deciding to attend a fairly large public school such as Berkeley, I knew I had to embrace the idea of living with multiple people, potentially up to six or seven if I was placed in a suite. At first, this adjustment seemed intimidating and overwhelming to me; I was used to having a very strong sense of who I shared my space with, and felt nervous that a brand new environment with random roommates would be deeply overwhelming.  

To ease my initial nerves, I decided that finding at least one roommate online would be best for my anxiety about living with new people so that I could have a sense of who I would be sharing a space with before school began. I decided to join the class Facebook group where I posted a bio about myself and reached out to a handful of girls. One day, my current roommate—a stranger at the time—reached out to me after seeing that we had a few mutual friends in common, and after we started talking we decided to meet up in person. We ended up hanging out for six or seven hours, and after realizing that I loved her company, easy-going personality and welcoming presence, I asked her to be roommates. We immediately started looking through housing options for the upcoming year, and after struggling to find a third roommate, we ended up going random and were lucky enough to land with a perfectly normal, kind, and respectful girl. 

A sunset view of Clark Kerr Building 2.

I believe that the ability to chose at least one roommate through social media was an invaluable opportunity for me, as it made the transition from rooming individually to rooming with two people an incredibly smooth process. Although we were lucky enough to get along perfectly well with our random third roommate, this can be a gamble at such a large school such as Berkeley. However, I recognize that every situation turns out different—I know someone people who ended up not becoming close with their selected roommate, and others who became best friends with their random roommate—but if you are worried about taking a complete leap of faith and rooming with two random people, I highly recommend taking advantage of the social media platforms available at our fingertips. There is already so much change that accompanies freshman year of college, and having some sense of who you are going to live with might help to ease initial worries and anxieties about entering into a new chapter of life.  

For incoming freshmen, I highly recommend exploring the options presented in front of you to search for roommates before deciding to go random. Although roommate situations turn out differently for each person, I don’t think it can hurt to reach out to people and build familiarity with your new classmates. At the very least, it might allow you to recognize some familiar faces around your hallway or on campus once the school year begins.

Sydney Hilbush

Author: Sydney Hilbush

Hello! My name is Sydney Hilbush and I am a freshman at UC Berkeley majoring in Political Science and minoring in journalism. I am involved with an array of clubs on campus including Greek Life, Sage Tutoring, and Surfrider, and outside of school I love hiking, backpacking, and spending my days on the beach.