{shortcode-2d27fea6cca2dc88671602c25f9d5a215cbe0194}Housing is one of the least glamorous parts of being a college freshman. All of a sudden, you are forced to share an 80-square-foot dorm room – and chances are, a bunk bed – with someone you’ve never met before. This can be a big adjustment. This stranger, aka your new roommate, may end up being your best friend — or far from it. In any case, living in a double room with a roommate almost always means some awkward moments are inevitable (e.g. changing fails, snoring, or passive-aggressive “clean up your side of the room” interactions).

Having a roommate was a rite of passage for college students in their first year. Then Covid-19 happened, and traditional rooming arrangements got jumbled up. Large upperclassman House singles replaced tiny double rooms in the Yard. Who doesn’t love their privacy and extra storage space? A good rooming arrangement was somewhat of a consolation for all that was missed by on-campus students last year.

Fast forward to today, and everyone is finally back on campus. Not only are freshmen back to living in doubles, but so are sophomores and juniors. Even some sophomores and juniors living in the Quad are living in hallway doubles this year. Far from being frustrated with these rooming arrangements, though, I can honestly say that I enjoy living with my roommate in our double room. I (and hopefully others) appreciate having a roommate now more than I ever would because it represents something that would have been unimaginable and out-of-the-question a year ago.

Having a roommate and sharing a living space with someone outside of your immediate family means so much more than late-night conversations and always having someone to go to the dhall with (as great as these two things are). It means a return to normalcy, where blockmates are no longer socially distanced or separated by time zones. College students are finally getting to live the way they had in the past and are meant to, within a physical space and community that gives them a sense of belonging and connection to others like them. A roommate means something in the fall of 2021 that it never did in the past.

Yes, maybe my take on having a roommate is a little cheesy. After all, does hearing them snooze their alarm clock 10 times every morning get annoying? Yes. Does having to leave the room when your roommate is on a call become a little inconvenient? Definitely. Would you be as close to your roommate if you lived in a suite rather than a double? Most likely.

But there’s nothing wrong with appreciating things like having a roommate a little more this year. So, that being said, buy your roommate a cupcake or give them a hug – or at least offer to take out the trash.