The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

New York Knicks forward Precious Achiuwa (5) shoots over Philadelphia 76ers guard Kelly Oubre Jr., rear, in red, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York on Sunday, March 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)
Column | Former Villanova fanatic watches “Nova Knicks” take down Sixers in NBA Playoffs
By Aidan Kasner, Sports Editor • May 23, 2024
Opinion | Do not arrest peaceful protesters
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • May 23, 2024

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

New York Knicks forward Precious Achiuwa (5) shoots over Philadelphia 76ers guard Kelly Oubre Jr., rear, in red, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York on Sunday, March 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)
Column | Former Villanova fanatic watches “Nova Knicks” take down Sixers in NBA Playoffs
By Aidan Kasner, Sports Editor • May 23, 2024
Opinion | Do not arrest peaceful protesters
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • May 23, 2024

Opinion | Your first-year roommate is one of the most important people you will ever know, both good and bad

Grace+Harris%2C+staff+columnist+for+The+Pitt+News%2C+poses+for+a+photo+with+her+first-year+roommate.+
Grace Harris | Staff Columnist
Grace Harris, staff columnist for The Pitt News, poses for a photo with her first-year roommate.

College is a daunting and, quite frankly, terrifying experience. I would be lying if I said the day before I drove eight hours from Chicago to Pittsburgh, I was calm. I was a mess. Most of the fear stemmed from the fact that I was going to a school with no one from home. I was the only student from my graduating class going to Pitt, so I feared I would never feel the sense of comfort home gave me. While I did move here with no one directly from my hometown, I came with one person I knew — my roommate. 

The girl who slid into my DMs from the class of 2027 Instagram page a couple of months prior was the only person I felt I knew enough to ease some of my nerves. I instantly clicked with her and felt like I had known her for years. As my first year comes to an end, I have come to realize that she has become one of the most important people I have had in my life. 

First-year roommates, both good and bad, are some of the most important people we will meet in our lifetimes. I am lucky to say that my roommate has become one of my best friends, and I probably would not be in the place I am today if it weren’t for her.

It is normal to feel out of place and panic at the start of your first year of college, especially if you are at an out-of-state school. My imposter syndrome was so bad that I constantly had lingering thoughts that I needed to go back home and that was the only way I would feel better. The only thing that kept me from giving up and turning back was Bella — the roommate I was and still am lucky enough to have who felt like home. 

Bella reminded me that I was not alone in my extreme homesickness. Our late-night talks were some of the most comforting conversations I have ever had and were there when I needed them most. I never had to explore campus alone, and somehow, she understood how I was feeling without me even having to say it. 

College is insanely stressful, there is no way around that. And I am the type of person who often engulfs themself in their work during midterm and finals season and goes — what Bella likes to call — “off-grid.” While this isn’t the best habit, Bella is always understanding. She has acted as a constant reassurance that school is not everything and breaks are just as important. She has a way of getting me to better balance school and life, and for that, I am so grateful.  

One of the most important things I have learned from having a great first-year roommate is how to be more comfortable with vulnerability. I hate being vulnerable. Crying in front of people makes me extremely uncomfortable, and I am one to cover real emotions with extreme sarcasm. One of my biggest complaints coming to college and living in a dorm was that being alone was a rarity, so if you wanted a good cry, someone might see.

However, crying while at college is inevitable. You’re going to get humbled by an assignment, you are going to stress over countless assignments and you are most likely going to cry, with a lack of privacy. But having Bella taught me that it is OK to cry and be vulnerable — she is always there with a tissue or a pat on the back when I need it most, and when I need to shed a few tears and move on, she lets me know she’s there. 

I want it to be very clear, I am not assuming everyone has a great experience with their first-year roommate. While if that were true things would be much easier — that is simply not possible. I know plenty of people with roommate “horror stories,” and I completely understand. Having a roommate that you are not close to can have negative impacts on a person. However, there is something that people with bad roommate experiences all have in common — they are grateful for their roommate in some way or another. Their experience with their roommate is the reason they branched out more and met some of the best friends they have now. 

One of my best friends is not very close with her roommate, so Bella and I invited her out to do things with us at the beginning of the year, and now we have become nearly inseparable. She also has a wide variety of friends from different dorms, majors and organizations that she has been able to connect with. While she might not be close with her roommate, it is because of that she was able to expand her circle.

Similarly, my sister did not have a good experience with her roommate during her first year of college, and because of that, she was forced to come out of her shell more independently. As a result, she found a great group of friends who she still stays in touch with post-graduation. Even when a friend leaves while you are still in school, that person may stay a close friend of yours. Fellow columnist Irene Moran noted that she is still in touch and very close with her first-year roommate who transferred and talks to her whenever she can. 

The first year of college is scary, whether you have a good roommate or not. And while I was lucky enough to find one of my best friends, those who aren’t as lucky still find amazing people and make best friends along the journey. Either way, this relationship is vital because regardless of if they are friend or foe, they have a huge impact on how you navigate your first year and who will be with you for years to come. 

About the Contributor
Grace Harris
Grace Harris, Staff Columnist
Grace Harris is a freshman political science major from the suburbs of Chicago, IL. You will most likely find her doing copious amounts of reading in Cathy or fangirling over Taylor Swift. She has a passion for social justice and advocacy. Her email is always open to more ideas—