Living with strangers could be the best decision incoming Butler freshmen make

The idea of roommates is a strange one, especially in college.

Students are asked to move out of their childhood homes, move into what essentially is a boarding house and live with another person—sometimes, a complete stranger.

Cohabitation is tricky; naturally there are different types of roommates: the quiet one, the angry one, the one who is always watching TV, the one who is never watching TV, the loud one, the one who always plays music, the rigorous student and the devoted partier.

College is an awkward transition in and of itself, especially for an only child like me. I wasn’t sure how to adjust to living in close quarters with someone who would care to the extent my parents did about what hour I came home, how loud I played my music and how often I had friends over. To bridge this gap, many freshmen have started living with people they know beforehand.

I consider this cheating.

Why is this cheating? Because you aren’t breaking out of your comfort zone; actually, you are perpetuating the familiarity of high school into college.

My advice to freshmen: live with a stranger, embrace the awkwardness of it. It will build character.

Junior Brian Weitz experienced living with a stranger when he transferred to Butler this year.

“The opportunity to have random roommates was the best thing that could have happened to me,” Weitz said.

The beauty of having a stranger for a roommate is that no one can predict how it will work out. Perhaps you and your roommate become best friends with an inseparable bond that continues past commencement. Or maybe your relationship takes a less desirable turn that ends in the two of you never speaking again. No one is to say how the relationship can unfold, but it is a gift either way.

When living with strangers, you get to meet people from all different walks of life and then decide if you want to keep living with them or find someone new. You meet people that have interests that align with yours, you meet people who don’t.

You get a rare life opportunity to test-drive relationships. This is the small window in your life where you can have roommates that you don’t have to worry about splitting the rent with.

Since the next serious roommate any of us will have will be our spouse or partner, why not take full advantage of the collegiate randomness, even if it blows up in our faces? It’s a good growing experience which, after all, is what college is all about. Believe me, nothing prepares you better for adulthood than living with someone you’ve never met.

“While  I already had friends on campus,” Weitz said, “not living with them immersed me into a social climate where everyone went out of their way to make friends with people.”

Even if you and your roommate hate each other, you could always meet a great group of friends through the person you live with. Just because your roommate is a bookworm and homework fanatic doesn’t mean all her friends are.

I’ve run the gamut when it comes to roommates. Everyone has. You meet some you like, some you don’t like, some you tolerate and some you downright refuse to associate with. But no matter which path your roommate situation takes, you can always make the most of it.

After years of less-than-par roommate encounters, I finally live with a group of girls I get along with. I was paired with these girls through random selection. It’s just proof that the best situations can come from just being open-minded.

Butler University isn’t the biggest school, but you’re bound to meet one person you can live with out of the 4,000 enrolled here.

When it comes time to fill out those housing forms, choose to be entered into the housing lottery as a single. You never know who you’ll meet, and that’s the best part.


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