I thought I had escaped it. “It” being the awkward conversation that goes something like “Hi! Nice to meet you…so, I guess you’re my roommate?!” In my freshman year in college, I roomed with two girls I went to high school with. I knew them enough to know that they weren’t going to kill me in my sleep (hey, I knew where their parents lived!), but they were new enough that it still felt like I was braving the “college experience.” I had high hopes that in time these two new roomies would potentially even cross into bestie territory…and I was right!
I went into the summer after my freshman year feeling settled into the whole sharing-a-room-with-another-person thing, and felt relaxed that I already had the perfect living situation planned out for the fall. My summer plan was to lie by the pool and daydream about my perfectly color-coordinated room with my former roomie, and to celebrate having all those freshman-year butterflies behind me. Sophomore year was going to be a breeze!
Until…my roommate called me in early August and told me she was transferring schools. Um…what?! No ma’am, that was not the plan!
I remember spending the remainder of the summer praying to God that by some random chance Belmont’s housing would fail to see that my room had an empty spot in it. Surely there was room for at least ONE room to be without a roommate. Right?!
Sometimes God throws you a curveball…and this year, my curveball’s name was April.
I received the e-mail telling me that April would be my roommate, and then I did what any normal person would do: I Facebook-stalked her. Hard. I mean like every picture and almost every post. (Yes, I needed to get a life.)
I spent WAY too much time and energy playing out the worst-case (and best-case) scenarios in my head about what she would be like. I wish someone would have told me a few things. So now I will share with you—from someone who has been there—a little advice and encouragement!
1. Take a deep breath! It. Will. Be. Okay. In fact, it will be more than okay! Don’t you think that the God of the Universe, who holds every star in place and knows every hair on your head, can handle picking out a roommate for you? I think He’s got it! When you start to go down that rabbit hole of worst-case scenarios (a trap definitely set by the enemy!), stop yourself. Begin to pray. Ask God to reveal to you why He has chosen this specific person to be your roommate. Maybe she is your future maid of honor! Maybe God wants to teach you to love and be patient when things don’t go your way, and having a roommate who isn’t ideal is going to be the easiest way for Him to teach you that lesson. Maybe He wants to use you to draw your roommate closer to Him! Whoa! What an amazing witnessing opportunity this may be.
No matter what the circumstance is, as believers we are called to praise Him in ALL things and to trust that He truly is working all things together for good (1 Thessalonians 5:8 and Romans 8:28).
2. Don’t set expectations. Expectations, whether they are hopeful or hopeless, can often lead to unnecessary disappointment. If you expect someone to be your best friend and she ends up just someone you live comfortably with, you may be upset that she isn’t your soulmate bestie—but in reality, that relationship may be exactly what God intended it to be! Some of the best roommate duos I met while in college were friends who lived well together, but actually had different friend groups outside of the room! (Which is what ended up happening with April and me! After all of my stress about it, she was an amazing roommate and an unexpected blessing from God!)
Or, on the flip side, if you expect that you’re going to dislike your roommate before you’ve even met her, then you’re going to waste time judging and distancing yourself from her before you’ve even given the friendship a chance! Do your best to go into this living situation with an open mind and heart.
3. Remember who your roommate is. No, I don’t mean just her name! I mean remember that a) she is a child of God and b) she isn’t you. Your roommate is probably just as nervous about this random setup as you are! Think of how she feels, and have compassion that regardless of how alike or different you may seem, she is probably pretty scared about meeting you, too. First and foremost, she is a child of God who deserves your love. And secondly, she isn’t you. By that, I mean that she isn’t going to have the exact same taste, sleeping schedule or cleanliness level (or lack thereof) as you. Living with a random person will take grace and flexibility on both ends! But if you want your roommate to be understanding of your silly quirks and bad habits, you need to extend the same to her.
All in all, be excited about this new adventure! Some of the best things in life are unplanned by us, but planned since eternity by our Heavenly Father.