Old friends, new beginnings: ETHS students’ journeys from friends to roommates

Going to college is an exciting time, but it can also be daunting, especially if you’re entering an environment with new faces. That’s why many high school friends make plans to be roommates in college. For senior Othman Hariri, rooming with 4 of his closest friends–Alen Ejupovic, Elliot Casey, Mason Foran and Theodore Kearney–at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign seemed like a no-brainer.

“I feel like I will be more comfortable [rooming] with my friends rather than someone I haven’t met before,” Hariri shares.

Having a familiar face around can make the adjustment to college life a bit smoother. You already know each other’s habits and quirks, and you can rely on each other for emotional support during the transitional period.

“I wanted to room with people that I trust,” Hariri reveals.

For Hariri, having roommates with the proper qualities is very important. He wants to be surrounded by people that do their simple chores. By rooming with his friends, he knows the guaranteed qualities that come with them.

“I don’t want us to be too comfortable with each other,” he says. “But if [one of them] doesn’t respect my space, we’ll just talk it out.”

Sa Sheikh, who has decided to room with friends Brennan Ptak and Jimmy Val at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, is excited to share this important milestone with his high school friends.

They’re my good friends so I already trust them and we can make our room fun and cool. That’s what I’m most excited about.

— Mason Denlow, future student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

“I am excited to make new experiences and meet new people, [while] becoming closer to my friends,” Sheikh shares. Sheikh is glad that he will know many people at University of Illinois, as this was part of the reason he decided to attend.

“I feel comfortable knowing that a lot of people [that I know] go there so the comfortability definitely influenced my decision,” says Sheikh.

In addition to the many upsides that come with rooming with high school friends, Hariri and Sheikh suggest that there are also possible setbacks. Hariri and Sheikh both fear that rooming with friends may limit their ability and willingness to expand.

“I am worried that rooming with my friends will lead to me not meeting as many new people,” Sheikh shares.

Living with high school friends can create a sense of comfort and familiarity in an otherwise new and overwhelming environment. However, it can also prevent students from branching out and meeting new people.

Another potential downside of rooming with high school friends is that it can hinder personal growth and development. College is a time of self-discovery, and living with people who already know you well can stifle that process. While living with high school friends may seem like a comfortable and easy choice, it’s important for students to consider the potential downsides.

Senior Addison Blough, rooming with close friends Brandon Brokowski and Mason Denlow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is not doubtful in his decision to room with his high school friends.

“I’m looking forward to the new social life and seeing what’s going to be there.” Blough shares. Blough’s roommate, Mason Denlow, couldn’t agree more.

When asked about what he was most looking forward to, Denlow had many things to say. “They’re my good friends so I already trust them and we can make our room fun and cool. That’s what I’m most excited about.”

Transitioning from home to college can be a stressful and overwhelming change, but having a few familiar faces in your dorm can provide support for the new journey. Despite potential challenges, many seniors are still choosing to room with their friends in college. And for some, it can be a great way to ease the transition to college life and make the experience more enjoyable overall.

Friends and future roommates Addison Blough, Brandon Brokowski and Mason Denlow