Conti: Rummaging for Roommate a Risky Reality


Many incoming college freshmen, like Samantha Conti, use Instagram to connect with other incoming freshmen to help choose a roommate.

Samantha Conti, Editor-in-Chief

The strenuous process of selecting a college is over. Now seniors suffering from senioritis start shopping not just for dorm essentials, but for a satisfactory — and hopefully sane — roommate. 

Transforming into an FBI agent, you begin to scroll through social media apps in an attempt to find the perfect person to share all your personal belongings with. 

What do they look like? Where do they live? What high school are they coming from? What are their hobbies? 

After collecting all your data, you access it in order to come to a conclusion. 

Now, once you find a person you deem tolerable to spend 24 hours a day with, you face the struggle of sliding into their Instagram DMs, asking them questions you already know because you have spent the last 30 minutes finding out every grueling detail about their life.  

Where are you from? Do you like going out? What are you majoring in? Are you a morning person? 

But, after stressing out for months and months, you come to ponder the question: Does your freshman roommate even matter? 

“It’s OK to not be best friends with your roommate,” said Alexa Burke, a Nonnewaug 2021 graduate. “Don’t just focus on them, focus on meeting other people, too.”

People put enormous amounts of pressure on selecting a person to live with, when in reality it doesn’t really matter.

“We were vastly different,” Toby Denman, Nonnewaug coach and teacher, said of his freshman roommate. “I went to one of the nerdiest schools imaginable [RPI]. Would [Nonnewaug teachers Kyle] Brennan and Will Michael make good college roommates? Probably not. That’s basically the situation I was in.” 

After scouring Nonnewaug for my whole journalism block, desperately looking for teachers to speak about their freshman roommate experience, I came to the realization that the majority of what I received couldn’t be placed in a high school newspaper. 

The majority pleaded the Fifth: I can’t say anything on record. … Is this really being put into the school newspaper?

But, luckily some dug deep enough to find sufficient roommate stories that actually can be placed on our website!

“Every weekend he was a hot mess, and every once every few weeks he would break or lose his phone,” math teacher Marty Malaspina said of his first roommate, “so he decided to get one of those pay-as-you-go flip phones. As he was showing someone the phone, he dropped it in a cup of water. That same day, he went home before us. Once we came home, we smelled the oven and [it was] his phone cooking inside the oven. For the whole year we asked him if he was cooking his phone. Safe to say I then switched roommates the following year.” 

Finding a roommate isn’t the easiest task when you are forced to judge a book by its cover. 

“I learned that if you’re going to be a Division I athlete and on scholarship, you better be rooming with people who are like minded as you,” said Declan Curtin, Nonnewaug’s athletic director who played soccer at Fairfield University. “I unfortunately ran into college roommates my freshman year that had a tendency to live life to its fullest and party as much as they could. That did not fit with my athletic lifestyle.”

Unfortunately, Curtin wasn’t the only one stuck with a roommate who didn’t fit his lifestyle.

“My roommate was kind of crazy,” said Kate Green, a 2021 Nonnewaug grad. “Make sure you get involved in things they aren’t or else you’ll be around each other 24/7 and it can be a lot.”

Finding someone that isn’t going to completely ruin or mess up your sleep schedule is a vital quality in someone you’re forced to sleep next to. 

“My college roommates’ snoring was so absurd,” said English teacher Conor Gereg, “that at first I thought he was doing it to deliberately annoy me. I quickly found out this was my new reality – this was life. I wouldn’t be sleeping in my freshman year.”

Or in Marisa Holtman’s case, it was about finding someone who isn’t easily spooked. 

“In the middle of the night one night, my roommate who stayed up all night was awake and I was sleeping,” the English teacher said. “Apparently, I sat up in bed and pointed at the door, and was screaming, ‘Kaitlyn, Kaitlyn, look out behind you!’ She came up and she woke me up in my face and I was like, what is happening to me right now? I scared the living daylights out of her!”

Unfortunately, your thorough online search can’t detect whether a person smells bad or not. 

“When his side of the room smelled so [freaking] bad,” said Charlie Stock, a 2022 Nonnewaug grad. “I ended up going to Target and buying $150 worth of air fresheners to make the room smell better. I sprayed his entire bed and his dirty laundry bag that would sit for six weeks before it got washed and I sprayed [him] because hadn’t showered in weeks.”

Bottom line: You’re looking for a person to live with, not a platonic soulmate. It’ll be OK … probably.

This is the opinion of Chief Advocate editor-in-chief Samantha Conti.