If you’ve ever lived in your college’s dormitories, think back to your first year. Ah yes, the feeling of finally being able to live alone, sort of. Your school pairs you up with a random person, and you want to get to know them. Now, I don’t know what people did before social media came about, but I know that if I had been paired with a random roommate, I would have stalked all of her social media to see what I was getting myself into.
It’s interesting to me that in this day and age, our first instinct when we meet a new person is to look them up on Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media platform to get an idea of who they are. This all goes back to how we brand ourselves through social media. What we post says something about us, and can alter someone’s first impressions on us. Whether it’s meeting your roommate online, or reconnecting with an old friend, we all tend to make initial judgements based on how people look online.
This is Tara (left) and Mai (right). They study at Macalester University in Minneapolis, MN. Tara is originally from Brooklyn in New York City. She hopes to study business communications and asian studies. Mai is from Thailand, and grew up in Minnesota. She hopes to study neuroscience. They both met through their school’s class of ’22 page on Facebook. Tara felt she needed to, “enhance my persona on social media to give people the impression that I’m serious” even though she describes herself as a bubbly person. Mai was “self conscious about my acne” and was hoping no one would judge her based on it. After they messaged each other on Facebook for the first time, both girls admitted to having spent a good amount of time looking through each other’s profiles.
“My initial thought of Tara was that she was a very academic person (Facebook reaction) … this girl has a good balance of being scholarly and being artsy–cool. (Instagram reaction)” Mai said. While Mai isn’t the type to create expectations of someone before meeting them, she mentioned that Tara is a wonderful friend/roommate and hopes they build a deeper relationship. “Based off her social media she seemed really artsy and family oriented. She had artsy photos of herself and food. She seemed really fashionable and very close with her siblings. I could tell she was nice and not that fake nice that people put up a lot and are actually very tough and cold.” Tara said.
Mai had met all her expectations, except one: “Haha I guess the only thing that was different was her height!” Tara boasted about how she loves how artsy Mai can be, especially in their room. Both girls talk about how they actually have made so many plans together as friends. “We have the same friend group so it’s fun.” (Tara) Between studying, clubs, and activities, “Hopefully, we don’t drown in schoolwork and actually have time to do what we planned.” (Mai).
This is Lawrence (left) and Dennis (right). They go to Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY. Both of them are from New York City and study engineering. To my surprise, the two of them had known each other as kids, but didn’t reconnect until high school, and now they’re college roommates! Lawrence mentioned that Dennis had moved away when they were kids, and was surprised to see him again in high school. “I honestly was really glad to find out I wasn’t going to enter high school alone.” (Lawrence) However, with time comes differences. Not in a bad way, but things in life don’t always stay the same. “Dennis was always a shy guy, not too social with others, and was generally a pretty quiet guy. I wanted to be able to have a roommate I can talk to and be able to help each other out. I’m glad to have a roommate like Dennis because we both come from similar backgrounds.” (Lawrence)
He had an expectation of Dennis that things would be the way they always were. During their first few months of college, they have gotten to speak everyday and get closer as if they were kids again. Lawrence sometimes feels bad though: “The difference in personality is hard
sometimes because I feel bad when i’m interacting with my friends and I know Dennis is in the dorm playing games. I do try to make the effort to invite him out, but he chooses not to most of the time.” Dennis on the other hand was different from Lawrence in multiple ways. “While I don’t have much of a social profile, I do tend to overthink about things I put out online as I am aware that anyone could be looking at it.” He looked Lawrence up on Facebook after reconnecting, and “wasn’t too surprised as I’ve known him for a long time.”
Dennis was able to see that Lawrence was outgoing and social, but “being together in a dorm, I learn more about his interests in subjects like sports and video games.” Lawrence and Dennis have both felt great about their relationship as roommates. “Things that we do together sometimes be getting a meal or tagging along with friends.” (Dennis) “We both mutually know that we can talk to each other
about whatever and know each other’s boundaries.” (Lawrence) They’re able to get meals together in the dining hall from time to time, and are able to respect each others boundaries socially.
As humans, it’s normal to have these initial thoughts about each other. While our social media profiles are just a seed of who we really are. These four were able to see past each other’s profiles and see the friend that come with their roommate. Hopefully, they will be able to live a comfortable first year together. Good luck to them!