Friends by Chance

Tori - San Luis Obispo, California
Entered on March 3, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Before I was about to leave for college and make the biggest change of my life, I anxiously looked online to see my roommate assignment. The site read: Rachel Smith from Hemet, California. I felt a nervous knot in my stomach; this girl would be a huge part of my life for the next ten months whether or not I liked it. She could be my future best friend or my future enemy. As any teenager would, I immediately searched for Rachel on Facebook. After browsing her pictures and interests, I came to the conclusion that we were nothing alike and possibly complete opposites. Little did I know, she would teach me many lessons.

I went to college with the idea that Rachel and I would never get along just because she did not look like my friends or me. I was the girl in high school who went to dances and football games while she sat at home with her sisters. I never thought we would actually end up being friends. Once we arrived at school, it took only a few days to realize that we really were different. My side of the room was pink scattered with clothes and sorority pictures. Her side was brown filled with political stickers and movies. I wondered how two contrasting girls would be able to coexist in such a small room.

At times we bickered because of the close living arrangements and the need for our own space. During the weekends she played board games in the dorm, while I was out with friends. We each had our own lives, but when I got back to my room I knew I had someone to talk to. As we got to know each other, Rachel became one of the biggest confidants and closest friends in my life. Rachel gave me advice from a different perspective and listened to all my stories and problems. I found myself telling her things only my best friends and family know. I spoke to her with full confidence that she would not tell anyone. She was the first person to comfort me when I cried. She was the first I told about a new boy in my life and the first to take care of me when I was sick. Now, I wonder if I would have found a friend as genuine as Rachel if I had roomed with someone more similar to me. I believe in being assigned random college roommates.

My outlook on others became less superficial because Rachel and I were assigned to live together. Life is not as enlightening being surrounded by people exactly like me. Different interests do not mean incompatibility as friends. I can learn from individuals with different life backgrounds and a variety of personal attributes. Rachel helped me understand that I should not judge based on appearance or hobbies. Being put in this difficult situation gave me patience and an understanding of new, different people. Other students I have talked to have also learned from their randomly assigned roommates. Even those who did not find friendship left the year with a higher tolerance and sense of respect for other human beings. The most unexpected friend, such as a college roommate by chance, can teach the greatest lessons; lessons everyone deserves a chance to learn.