Awkward roommate

Cat Tellez is a senior at Grand Canyon University and is one of the few, the proud, the English Lit Majors! She hopes to one day become a profession Pinterest-er. Until such barriers are broken down, she’s content with pursuing an interest in journalism.  She enjoys running, Star Wars, coffee, and making references to every John Hughes movie ever made.  She is a firm believer in making the most out of any college experience.




So the moment has come. The parents have left and your first dorm room has a cloud of silence hanging aimlessly over the chipped paint of the walls. When you think about it, having two strangers placed in a closed quarters from various parts of the world for an entire year is a premise similar to a twisted reality show. In my experience, these connections can go three ways:

Option A:

Perfect Strangers

You don’t exactly dislike each other, but it’s clear that there is no magical friendship blooming here.

Option B:


You hate your cell mate and they feel the same way. It feels like prison every time you walk in. When you hear them open up the door, you immediately reach for your headphones so you can avoid listening to them breathe.

Option C:

Your roommate is your best friend. Maybe you just met and clicked, or maybe you chose each other. You two not only join in on each other’s quirks, but you support each other and encourage each other to become the best version of yourself. This is your partner in crime though, not your soul mate. It’s perfectly acceptable to call them out on their antics and you’ll still love each other.

What most people don’t realize, is that these “Option C” relationships don’t just pop up during Welcome Week. These relationships are molded, which is why it’s my duty to share some knowledge I’ve gained through some serious trial and error. The following is a list of four conversation starters guaranteed to spark some life into the ghostly silence of any dormitory.





Whether or not you are a coffee drinker, college will turn into one giant caffeine driven madhouse. Dropping the word coffee usually creates serious passion, whether they love it or hate it- everyone has an opinion. Coffee is used as an addiction, an adventure, and a great opportunity to get to know each other. The new roommates can indulge in a love for the drink together by seeking out new coffee shops and using this time to chat about anything and everything.  It may start off as a quick trip to get a hot drink, but once the caffeine jitters set in- there’s no telling where the conversation will go.

The Ring by Spring

For some terrifying reason, many college students seek out opportunities to find their one true love as soon as their parent’s car is out of view. This phenomenon is referred to as getting (or giving) the “ring by Spring”.  Talk about your total rejection of the idea or your eagerness to achieve this goal, either way you’ll observe a noticeable interest in the topic. Don’t just throw out there, “What’s your opinion on marriage?” though! Begin with a general observation of someone you found attractive, and the conversation will always lead back to the ring by Spring, trust me. My summer roommate and I had the most awkward few weeks of our lives until the Resident Director, came to our door to ask me about a maintenance issue. After this, my roommate and I bonded over his noticeable good looks. It’s weird, but it totally works.

What’s your Major?

                Incredibly simple and to the point. Chances are, your roommate is passionate about what they

Chose to study in school.  Ask them what their major is and why they wanted to study that. If

You don’t want to give them a heart attack, refrain from asking “so what are you going to do

With that”? This question sounds very harsh and may cause your new buddy to feel insecure

About their program. Instead ask, “That’s so cool! What are you interested in doing after

College”? This question shows an interest, and promotes the idea that you believe your

Roommate knows exactly what they’re doing with their life—even though none of us really do!

In short, it’s never easy to bond with a stranger. However, there are several shortcuts available to cut out the tension of forced living space. But remember, even if your roommate isn’t your best friend, it isn’t the end of the world. Join a club, a study group, or go to an event on the quad! Make it count!

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