The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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A Roll of the Dice

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You’ve heard a million stories, I’m sure, about the roommates who met on the first day of college and went on to be best friends. It’s a classic tale of bonding over TV shows, nights spent doing homework, and joking with the people across the hall. It is one of the best parts of college, a unique friendship that comes entirely from a random, computer generated assignment. At the end of the day though, it is just that: random.

Getting a random roommate is a roll of the dice, and with anything like that, it’s not always perfect. Sure, I know a ton of people who are best friends with their freshman-year roommate. It probably happens more often than not. But it wasn’t like that for me, and I know that I’m not alone. Looking back on it though, I wouldn’t change a thing.

My freshman-year roommate and I were friendly, there’s no doubt about that. We still talk every now and then if we run into each other on campus, and he’s a great guy, but to be honest, we really just weren’t that compatible. We had different interests, and because of that we never really bonded as friends. I know other people who had similar situations, and I am sure that it happens regardless of what college you go to or where you live in that college. But this isn’t the end of the world. In fact, for me it was something of a blessing. I went down to the common on the first day, saw a guy with a Patriots jersey, and started a conversation with him. As we were talking about the GOAT, a guy passed by, overheard the conversation, and joined in. That passerby is now my best friend. We lived together sophomore year, junior year, and will be living together again next year. Making friends in college is a random thing, but it can be as simple as walking by a conversation at the right time.

So don’t be worried if things with your random roommate don’t go as perfectly as all the stories you’ve heard. I know that that can be an intimidating thought, but I promise you that it is not the nightmare it might sound like. The fact of the matter is that in college, everyone is trying to make friends. Every single person. And there are going to be a million other students in the same boat as you, just looking to meet some new people. So go out into the common rooms, walk down the hall, and strike up conversations with random people. With some, that might be the only interaction you ever have with them, but with others, it could be the beginning of a great friendship, like it was for me. The trick is to just keep rolling the dice until the right number shows up.


Life at UMass
Residential Life
Transitioning to College

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