Like every other eager Grinnellian, I had a countdown to the day I would get the chance to find out who my roommate would be for that exciting and scary unknown that is the first year of college. I had my doubts about living with a complete stranger, so I did what so many of us often do: I worried.
“What if we have absolutely nothing in common?” “What if she doesn’t like me?”
When the highly anticipated day finally arrived, I logged onto my computer and waited for Pioneerweb to load. Since I knew there were a couple hundred likeminded first-years trying to find out the same information, I worried that all the students on the server would crash the entire system. Luckily, the Internet was able to handle our enthusiasm, and I carefully followed the directions I had received via e-mail. Finally, I had it. Her name was Jessie (a fine name!). She was from a town not too far from me (how convenient!). We were going to live in Rose Hall (new dorm, sweet!). My final verdict: I was excited to meet my new roommate. In a traditionally curious fashion, we looked each other up on the popular social networking site known as Facebook. Technology is a fabulous thing, and we used the website to start messaging each other. We started with the basics: our families, our backgrounds, our favorite things, and then branched out from there. It was really interesting to learn more about Jessie before actually meeting her in person, and I felt this online communication helped quell some of our fears. Since we lived only 15 minutes apart, we decided to put our online chats on hold and meet in person.
After much discussion about whether coffee or tea would be best, we settled on apple cider and donuts from this great little place near my house. We met and chatted for about an hour. As it turned out, living close to each other gave us more common ground, and even though I worried our first meeting would be awkward, the conversation flowed easily. Topics like books and movies led to a philosophical discussion, and by the end of our first meeting, we had also agreed on the who-would-bring-what logistical stuff. Overall, the experience was quite painless and actually a lot of fun. I was relieved to feel comfortable with my roommate, even before we stepped on campus.
Jessie and I kept in touch online for the remainder of the summer, and when I actually got to campus, things just got better. Even though we are very different people, we get along great, and living together has been wonderful. We joke around and have periodic sing-alongs that our neighbors can probably hear from the opposite end of the hall. In our short time together, we have laughed over cookie dough, ranted (and raved) about professors, done homework together, and just mused about life in general. I really can’t imagine having a better first-year roommate.
Although it was helpful to meet Jessie over the summer, I know that even without our preemptive meeting, we would still have gotten along just fine.
Mona Ghadiri '11 is undeclared and from Long Grove, Illinois.