FACE OFF 05/09/2023

I have never resorted to online dating, but I feel I got a fairly accurate view of the endeavor when trying to find a roommate. Scratch that; it was exactly like online dating, except the information I had on these girls was no more than a few social media posts, and the stakes were inarguably higher.

I graduated high school with 144 other people, most of which I knew very well, thank you very much. Despite this, almost none of my fellow graduates would be coming to Starkville, with most favoring the more economical decision of a junior college.  

Even if I had known a thousand other students coming to MSU, I would never have considered rooming with them. Enough adults had already indoctrinated me with horror stories of best friends turned into enemies all due to the forced proximity of a freshman dorm. 

This left me with one choice. I could either let the roommate gods over at Housing and Residence Life determine how my year would go, or I could search out some poor, random girl with dreams of becoming a future Bulldog. 

I chose the latter, which has proved to be some of the best decision making of my life, believe it or not.

I stumbled on over to the housing portal, inputted a few preferences about room cleanliness and noise level, and was suddenly greeted by about 20 options, all ranked by compatibility through percentages. 

Obviously, the only way to do this was to start with the highest percentage and work my way down, which I did.

This began the month-long series of using a girl’s first and last name to try and find out as much as I could about her. In this day and age, it took one search on Instagram to find most candidates.

I would love to say that I judged these girls on things that mattered, that I combed through their pages trying to find evidence that they were good people. In reality, I tried to find someone who looked clean and had the ability to socialize. 

These things were very simple. If the roommate-hopeful had a picture with her mom, that was probably fine, but if that was the only picture on her page, chances are her mom was the only person who could stand to be around them. 

If they had an astrological sign in their bio, I ran the other way. These things were very simple. 

I settled on a wonderful human being named Abby who enticed me with an Instagram page dedicated to her baking business. Always the supporter of woman-owned business ventures, I effectively slid into her DMs, giving a short intro about myself. 

As I stated previously, I have never online dated before, but the moments leading up to her response were more nerve-wracking than the time I backed into a mailbox two weeks after getting my driver’s license. 

A couple hours later, Abby replied. A couple months later, we were both the official residents of room 209-A.

We made a good fit. Abby and I have survived a year of living in a 22 by 13-foot room without ripping our hair out, and we have even signed a lease agreeing to live together again sophomore year. 

If I had roomed with my best friend from high school, I would have never made myself branch out to other people. My roommate and I both made our own friends, which meant that we each got to come back to the dorm after a full day to debrief about what all had gone down since we had seen each other that morning.

Since we had our own lives outside of each other, we never got sick of each other or spent too much time together. We were able to form our own experiences on campus that were independent of the small bedroom we called home. 

Random roommates are quite the gamble, but enough proof of their success exists that I can confidently say it is worth the risk. 

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