Move-in day is one of the most exciting, nerve-racking, and emotional days of college. How could it not be? After all, you’re moving away from home, just to find yourself in a new environment where you may not know anybody…much less where anything is. The idea of new classes and professors starting in a few days is stressful, especially when you have no idea what to expect. To top it all off, you may have never even met the person that you’re going to be living with for the next eight months!
…but what if that person never showed up?
This is exactly what happened to me in my freshman year of college. I was moving almost four hours away from home to an area that I didn’t know very well, I didn’t have a lot of connections on campus, and I had no clue what my classes were going to be like. And, as previously mentioned, all of that was topped off by the fact that I had never met my roommate before.
While I was no stranger to having roommates (I participated in two residential summer programs in high school and had roommates in each), I was still a little nervous about having an actual college roommate. Over the years, I’ve heard some great stories about roommates becoming best friends, but I have also heard stories about less-than-ideal roommates.
Nevertheless, when I received the notification of who my roommate was going to be, I immediately looked at her profile on my college’s housing website, found her email address, and emailed her. In the email, I introduced myself, told her that I was excited to meet her, and then commenced the topic of coordinating what we were bringing. I checked my email regularly, but a few weeks later, I had still not received a reply.
To be honest, I wasn’t surprised. I had used the only email address listed on her profile—her school email—which I doubted a lot of students were checking often during the summer, especially freshmen. As move-in day quickly approached, I decided to wait before buying the bulkier items (mini fridge, microwave, etc.) in case she had decided to bring any of them, since we couldn’t have doubles of the these in the dorms.
Weeks passed, and before I knew it, move-in day had arrived. After an early wake-up call and a long car ride, I arrived at my dorm, went through the process of signing different forms and receiving my key, and then went on the hunt to find my room. When I found it, it was immediately evident that my roommate was not there yet. I began moving in, picking a bed, but leaving the rest of the furniture where it was so we could decide how to arrange it together. But as the sun started setting across the sky and the day came to a close, I became confused. I had never heard of a roommate not showing up before.
(Related: A Tour of My Freshman Dorm Room and Suite)
That evening, I mentioned that my roommate had not arrived to the RA working at the building’s front desk, and she informed me that some students choose to move-in later, or that she could have had an unexpected event come up that prevented her from moving in on time…
…or she could just not be coming.
Days passed, classes started, and I was still roommate-less. I don’t doubt that many students would be celebrating if they were in my situation. Certainly having the room to myself was nice, but I was more concerned with something that a lot of students forget about this type of situation: the cost of a private room.
That’s right: if your roommate doesn’t show up, you may get charged for a private room.
While the process of having a no-show roommate may be different at each college, mine gave me two choices: find a roommate or pay for a private room. Since I didn’t want to shell out the extra thousand dollars, I would need to find a roommate.
While I had never heard of no-show roommates before, they apparently happen quite a bit. To help me find a roommate, my school’s housing office sent me a list of potential roommates in my building—all of whom also had no-show roommates—to help me find one. Even though the experience of having a no-show roommate and stressing about what was going to happen in terms of room charges wasn’t the most enjoyable, receiving an email like this (if you’re in the same situation as I was) can be very beneficial. It gives you the option to actually meet your potential roommate face-to-face to see whether you all would get along, rather than being randomly paired up together.
(Related: Ten Original Dorm Room Hacks)
Just a few short days of receiving that list (and about a month into college), I had to suddenly move out of that dorm due to an unrelated situation, so I never did get to finish the process of finding a roommate. Either way, it definitely provided me with an interesting experience and a story to tell. Going into college, I had never heard of roommates not showing up and what happens to the roommate who does. While process can definitely vary from college-to-college, you might have to go through the same process that I did. Either way, my experience let me find out what happens if my roommate doesn’t show up to college.
Did you have a roommate that didn’t show up? And if so, what happened? Write me back a letter (in the comments) or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I’d love to hear from you!