When I first came to Virginia Tech, I was most concerned with which dorm I was going to stay in, and who would be sharing it with me. As someone who lived in the same place for 19 years, it was intimidating to play the housing lottery. Even when I moved off-campus, my main worries resided in which complex I could afford and whether or not it had a washer and dryer. Picking roommates, I had come to realize, was as important — if not more — than picking your dream Blacksburg home.
Having a safe and welcoming roof over your head is necessary, but it’s nice if you don’t have to worry about your roommate writing passive aggressive sticky notes or stealing your stuff. Finding compatible companions to cohabit with will lead to a happier college experience, improved mental health and life skills you can use after college.
Where to find roommates
Virginia Tech, offers services and platforms that aid students in finding not only off-campus housing, but also roommates. Virginia Tech’s Off-Campus Housing Office offers tips about housing and roommate agreements listed on its website or in their office in Squires 312. On the website, you can search properties available, submit available properties to rent or find potential roommates by creating an account and profile of yourself. Based on your preferences of gender, cleanliness, area and other personalized questions, you are given a search of possible roommates with similar interests and ideals, creating a safe and organized forum to find potential roommates.
Social media is your friend
Some roommate search websites, like Roomsurf, offer personalized roommate searches that are blocked by a paywall and require a membership. However, social media platforms, especially Facebook, have groups designated for finding roommates in Blacksburg. Virginia Tech has two large Facebook pages specifically for finding roommates, on and off-campus. Also, adding yourself to your class’ Facebook page is a good way to find people in your class, especially if you are looking for a dorm roommate.
Roommate interviews, like speed dating, are great for gathering first impressions and seeing if there are any compatible qualities shared. Picking somewhere to get coffee or meeting at Chick-fil-a can be a not-as-awkward way of getting to know a stranger you could potentially live with. Aside from learning about which part of Nova or Jersey they are from, or what their favorite Netflix show is, there are some pressing questions that are key to cohesive living.
For example, smoking preferences, pets, parties, cooking and study habits are important things you need to make sure everyone agrees on, especially in an apartment. However, the issue of cleanliness can turn a healthy living experience into an everyday battle, so make sure that everyone in the house is messy, a neat freak or indifferent.
It’s important to keep in mind that great friends don’t always make great roommates. You never truly know someone until you know live with them, and it’s okay to not want to live in close proximities to your best friend. Ask friends-of-friends, people in your class, family friends, high school acquaintances, just make sure that your only commonality isn’t school or friendship. Also, stay off Craigslist — I learned from experience.