Alumni talk about their decision to room with friends or strangers
Having known each other since middle school, MVHS alumni Hrushikesha Athreya ‘20 and Sreyas Dhulipala ‘20 decided to room together for their first year at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) after committing to the same school last spring. Dhulipala considered rooming with someone he didn’t know but decided against it after hearing stories of these situations not working out.
“You are just taking that chance. You’re going to get lucky or you’re not,” Dhulipala said. “And I know for some people, it worked out really well and some people it didn’t. But if you’re willing to take that risk, I would say go for it. But just something you have to just go into thinking [is] ‘OK, if it doesn’t work out, I have to learn to adjust with that …’ That’s why I went to a roommate I knew before because I knew somewhat what I was going to expect.”
During their first semester, Athreya and Dhulipala spent most of their time inside their dorm, as they took online classes and were still getting to know other classmates. Now, the two have both explored the campus and spend most of their time outside of their dorm.
“This semester, we’re both busy and we have other friend groups,“ Athreya said. “So I kind of rarely see him at night, maybe a couple of times in the morning when I wake up, usually I like to spend all night studying in a little place. So then by the time I come back in the room at like eight in the morning or nine he’s like already gone. So sometimes I go days without seeing him.”
Nevertheless, Dhulipala says his relationship with Athreya has grown stronger as a result of living together and adjusting to each other.
“I got to know him obviously a lot more. I mean in high school, we were just friends,” Dhulipala said. “We just hung out at times, we talked occasionally. But now, I definitely think that we know each other and we had to adjust to live with each other, so you have to know the other person pretty well.”
One important aspect that complicates both types of living situations is privacy, especially in the COVID-19 era, when video calls have become more common than face-to-face conversations. Athreya and Dhulipala share one room with beds on opposite sides — as a result, Athreya found it difficult to have private phone calls with people when other people, including his roommate, were in his room.
After learning about each other’s preferences surrounding privacy, Athreya and Dhulipala are planning to room together off-campus next year with two other friends.
MVHS alumnus Armond Bigler ‘20 opted for a random roommate instead at Purdue University. At the beginning of the year, Bigler got to know his roommate from Colorado for the first time by hanging out with him.
“When I first met my roommate, he was easy going and we easily agreed on some ground rules,” Bigler said. “As we became more comfortable with each other, we would discuss school, friends and more.”
Similar to Athreya and Dhulipala, Bigler noticed that as the year progressed and he met more people, he had less interactions with his roommate. As a result, he plans to live with three other friends in the upcoming school year.
“Our relationship wasn’t that close, yet it was very comfortable,” Bigler said. “Neither of us felt obligated to hang out with the other and we got along perfectly. I think I got really lucky having such a chill roommate.”