Digital Diaries Season 2 Episode 7: The reality of having a roommate

Erica Schmitt, Audio Editor

On Season 2, Episode 7 of Digital Diaries, Northwestern students share their perfect roommate matches that were either randomly assigned or found online.


ERICA SCHMITT: From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Erica Schmitt. This is season two, episode seven of Digital Diaries, a weekly podcast following the college experience and asking students a question about life at Northwestern.

ERICA SCHMITT: This week is all about roommates. You know, the strangers that you have to live with for a couple of years? The people who know when you sleep, when you eat, when you take a shower … Some students search for their roommates on class Facebook groups, while others leave their fate up to the Northwestern gods and sign up for a random roommate.

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ERICA SCHMITT: Residential Services randomly assigned Weinberg sophomore Charlotte Admokom to her roommate, Weinberg sophomore Emily Lynott, before their freshman year. Admokom decided to go with a random roommate for a couple of reasons.

CHARLOTTE ADMOKOM: We made an account on Instagram and it was like, ‘Oh, choose who you want to match with’ and then you would comment on them and that honestly was just overwhelming in itself for me. And I also got in regular (decision) so I felt like I was behind cause at that point, there were like, so many people who had posted, and I was like, ‘Oh my God, I’m not gonna meet anyone.’ And so then, I thought to myself, if I go random, if I don’t like the person, they’re not going to take it personally because we did not mutually agree to be with each other. We just got set up randomly.

ERICA SCHMITT: Lynott got in early decision, but had the same mindset at Admokom.

EMILY LYNOTT: It was just overwhelming to look through everything I feel like. And then I also figured the way the questionnaire works, sleeping times wouldn’t be an issue and we would be on the same terms in terms of living together, which I felt like was the main goal.

ERICA SCHMITT: And it worked out really well. After living together in West Fairchild for the first year, they’re roommates again this year, but in 1838 Chicago.

CHARLOTTE ADMOKOM: We both agreed that we wanted to stay South Campus. And so we were already on the same page, we already knew that our sleeping habits were very similar and we didn’t want to go through the process of having to find another person and then work around them and, like, adjust. It’s already working — might as well like keep going with it and it’s worked out well.

ERICA SCHMITT: What advice do you have for people with a roommate or who plan to room with someone else?

EMILY LYNOTT: Honesty is so important. Like, you have to set boundaries — that was an issue with some people on our floor last year. Like not knowing how to have those conversations or being afraid of offending them. If it’s something that’s impacting your wellness, you just have to bring it up, and having an honest conversation is so important and remembering that we are all adults.

CHARLOTTE ADMOKOM: When you first meet up or you first talk, I would say, ‘This is my sleeping schedule or this is how I study.’

ERICA SCHMITT: Adkomom also says sometimes, when people she knew decided to live with their friends, it was not as ideal as they anticipated.

CHARLOTTE ADMOKOM: I think a lot of our friends were scared to go random and that’s why they ended up with their friend. But I think that actually complicated a lot of their relationships with each other and added a layer of issues that probably never would have happened if they hadn’t been roommates. So, if you do decide to become roommates with someone you are friends with, I would definitely evaluate, like, could you guys live together, because being friends with someone is one thing but then living with them is another thing.

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ERICA SCHMITT: Like Lynott and Admokom, Communications sophomores Alex DeVito and Drew Slager were randomly assigned to each other at Willard (Residential College). And they say they’re a perfect pair.

DREW SLAGER: I was lazy. I did not even look for roommates. I was like, ‘I’m just gonna go random. I’m not going to stress about it. Whatever happens, happens.’

DREW SLAGER: It was like an email, I think, over the summer and they’re like ‘This is your roommate,’ but then we found each other over Instagram, I think, and then we texted like, a bit, not a lot though.

ERICA SCHMITT: DeVito met Slager on move-in day.

ALEX DEVITO: There was a ‘Ma’ sticker on his water bottle and I was like, ‘Okay, we’re good. we’re on the same wavelength.’

ERICA SCHMITT: DeVito and Slager say they have similar living habits.

ALEX DEVITO: I would say I’m a kind of messy person. I just have a lot of random things that are scattered about so I was kinda scared coming in. What if I have a really neat roommate who doesn’t stand for any of that? But luckily, Drew likes my things.

DREW SLAGER: I’m kind of on like, the borderline of neat and messy. So it wasn’t something I was too worried about. But I think definitely when we were first getting to know each other, like first living together, it was something we had to figure out. But I feel like especially going into this year, our second year living together, we’re very much comfortable with what we have in the room.

DREW SLAGER: I didn’t think we would become this close. I mean, all the stuff you hear on social media from people from your high school who’ve already gone to college is that you only really hear the bad stuff about random roommates.

DREW SLAGER: And also we have a lot of the same interests.

ALEX DEVITO: Dumb decor, a similar sense of humor, I feel like is good because I can just come in and start screaming. And it’s fine.

DREW SLAGER: Yeah, we watch movies. Alex has a projector on the ceiling.

ALEX DEVITO: And how often we’re in the room is crazy. Being in such close physical proximity to someone else, at all times, like when you’re in your home, can be like a little daunting, freaky, but like, it’s working out.

ERICA SCHMITT: DeVito says sometimes the best advice is to go with the flow.

ALEX DEVITO: I did the whole “on the GroupMe” searching for roommates and I had a couple that I was thinking about but like knowing them now I’m like, I would not have been happy living with you. So like, trust the process.

ERICA SCHMITT: Slager says it’s okay even when the selection process doesn’t go perfectly.

DREW SLAGER: If you and your roommate don’t mesh 100% like that’s fine. There’s always going to be other people on campus you can like, get to know and meet and hang out with.

ERICA SCHMITT: They think they are perfect, or in other words —

ALEX DEVITO: The hottest roommate pair that I know.

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ERICA SCHMITT: Weinberg senior Natalia Camino and Medill senior Maria Caamaño weren’t just roommates, they were bunkmates.

NATALIA CAMINO: I was scrolling on the Facebook group. It was like, two days before roommate selections closed, and I saw Maria’s profile. And she mentioned her favorite artist was Bad Bunny. And this was like before he was pretty big. And so I was like ‘Oh my god, I love Bad Bunny.’ And then Maria went —

MARIA CAAMAÑO: ‘Oh my god, I love him too, where do you want to live on campus?’ And she just went ‘South, I’m thinking 1838 (Chicago)’ and I was like, ‘Perfect. That’s where I want to live.’

NATALIA CAMINO: And then Maria was like, ‘Here’s my Snapchat.’

MARIA CAAMAÑO: We also realized that we follow each other on Instagram. So we started DM-ing there.

ERICA SCHMITT: The typical small talk began, but the final determiner that they would live together was that they both had a chair they put all their clothes on and they agreed that they had no expectation to become friends. They lived in Hobart House, the women’s residential college, together during their freshman year, where they shared their bunk bed.

MARIA CAAMAÑO: I was the bottom bunk and Natalia was the top bunk. So like, if she was staying up late to go study, I would know when she came back because she’d have to get into the bed. So eventually, we started doing a lot of stuff together.

ERICA SCHMITT: In conclusion,

MARIA CAAMAÑO: The bunk bed brings people together.

ERICA SCHMITT: According to Caamaño, the adjustment for them was not too bad.

MARIA CAAMAÑO: I’m an only child, so for me, I was really nervous. But I had gone to a lot of sleepaway camps before so I had kind of gotten like, the experience of having a roommate, and I’d had such terrible roommates there that I was just like, as long as this person is just clean and respectful, I will be okay.

ERICA SCHMITT: Camino said that during COVID-19 they had to make adjustments to their living situation.

NATALIA CAMINO: Freshman year, like everything was new. Then sophomore year, when we came back in January, it was COVID, and so like the boundaries we had about like, what we were comfortable with in regards to like COVID regulations.

MARIA CAAMAÑO: We were kind of like a pod and so we had to kind of talk to each other like, ‘Hey, what people are we comfortable with seeing?’

ERICA SCHMITT: Now the two of them are known as a duo. But Camino did not expect their friendship to be what it is today.

NATALIA CAMINO: Don’t have expectations. I think that’s why to some extent we worked out. Like, we didn’t force anything.

ERICA SCHMITT: What advice would you give to people who are searching for their perfect roommate match?

MARIA CAAMAÑO: Find people who are like you in a sense, but different from you in others. For example, me and Nat are both night people, so we stay awake for really late. For us it really worked out that I’m like, very extroverted and I’m very like, outgoing. And then Nat’s like, very calm and she keeps me very collected.

NATALIA CAMINO: I think we just balance each other out.



ERICA SCHMITT: From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Erica Schmitt. Thanks for listening to another episode of Digital Diaries. This episode was reported and produced by me. The audio editor of The Daily Northwestern is myself, the digital managing editors are Joanne Haner and Olatunji Osho-Williams, and the editor in chief is Alex Perry. Make sure to subscribe to The Daily Northwestern’s podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or SoundCloud to hear next week’s episode.


Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @eschmitt318

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