A love letter to my freshman year roommate

Your freshman year roommate isn’t supposed to be your best friend, but mine is.

My mom always told me — or at least when I was getting ready to go to college — that my freshman year roommate wouldn’t be my best friend. She wasn’t trying to make me feel bad, but she wanted me to keep in mind that if I didn’t get along with the girl I would be sharing a shoebox-sized room with for the next year, everything would be fine. 

Apparently — in her words — most people don’t get along with their roommates. 

When my mom was a freshman at the University of Michigan, she lived with a girl whom she thought she got along with. Well, that was until my mom was woken up every night by the girl screaming French in her sleep and then waking up and screaming French at my mom. 

The point is, I went into college with the expectation I would probably like my roommate and enjoy her company, but I would never be best friends with her. 

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

On Aug. 28, 2020, I walked into my dorm to meet my roommate for the first time. We FaceTimed months before to fill out our housing application and get to know each other, but other than that, I had no idea what I would be getting myself into.

I walked into Rich Hall room 519 and sitting there on the bed was Sadie. We exchanged one look and I knew that everything my mom said was wrong.

west campus dorms
West campus dorms. Frances writes a letter to her freshman year roommate — her best friend and the silver lining to her pandemic University experience. HANNAH YOSHINAGA/ DFP FILE

I’ll hand it to COVID-19 for this one. After that day, Sadie and I never left each other’s side. Because of pandemic restrictions, social distancing and classes being online, we spent our days together in our room hanging out, watching Netflix and eating Scoop N Scootery. Sure, we could’ve branched out and spent our time apart, but that was never of interest for two introverts like us. 

My memories of my first semester freshman year consist of Sadie and I crying tears of laughter on our dorm floor, making TikToks and watching the lacrosse team practice from our windows every day. 

We were able to find the light in a dark situation because we had each other.

I would say that a lot of people saw COVID-19 as a negative experience. I, on the other hand, found it extremely rewarding. Not only was it a way for freshmen at the time to be eased into the social aspect of college life, but it also forced me to make deeper relationships than I would have with the people closest to me at the time. 

Sadie and I would probably have been friends regardless, but it was that current environment that allowed us to get as close as we did. 

So thank you, COVID-19. Thank you for giving me my best friend. Thank you for assisting me in proving my mom wrong. I’m relieved that I didn’t have the experience of disliking my roommate — and I’m even more relieved that Sadie doesn’t speak French. 

Sophomore year has started, and I get to live with my best friend for another year — this time with a little less COVID-19 restrictions and even more laughter.

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