Junior takes on freshman roommate by choice

By Kiera Suffel

“You’re rooming with a freshman?”

“How’d that happen?”

“How’d you get stuck with a freshman?”

Being a junior living with a freshman brings interesting challenges to light.

Many people seem to be surprised that I choose to live with a freshman. Truthfully, I had met my roommate before she came to Bluffton.

We didn’t attend the same high school, or live in the same town.

Being a student ambassador, I meet incoming students regularly. Sarah Heydinger was one of the students that I felt an instant connection with.

I remembered the great conversations I had with Heydinger through being a Student Ambassador. I gave her a group tour on one of Bluffton’s Discovery Days and was also the one who gave her a personal tour on a separate visit. 

I hadn’t planned to give Heydinger her personal tour, but I was excited when I saw I would be showing her around campus.

It wasn’t until later when I was looking for a roommate that I mentioned the possibility of rooming together.

This past spring I was on my cross-cultural in DC which is when room draw took place.

I was going to room with a friend in my class, however,  she had made plans to room with another one of our friends. To avoid being placed with a complete stranger, I sought out people I would be interested in living with.

Bluffton students can relate to how difficult room draw can be. I worked through this difficulty from out of the state. It was difficult to find a roommate I would actually want to live with in the midst of living eight hours away in another city.

I took a leap of faith and it paid off.

Despite being at different stages in our lives we get along very well.

I didn’t bond that well with past roommates and so far Heydinger and I have went on coffee dates together, she braids my hair for me, I help her pick out outfits, etc. 

We can participate in roommate activities, which is a new concept for me. Having a roommate that I have a strong relationship with has ultimately lead me to have a more positive attitude.

Not only are we close friends and roommates, I also have the opportunity to mentor Heydinger. Being older than her has given me more experiences to draw from and therefore more advice to give. 

Since I am two years older than Heydinger and she has older sisters, I take on the sisterly role some while she’s here at Bluffton. I can give her advice from my experiences with classes, studying, relationships and life. 

Being a mentor is a great skill to develop, however, sometimes I wish I had lived with someone closer to my age. I am focused on different goals than what Heydinger is focused on. 

We have also had different schedules as well. Heydinger participates in Bluffton’s volleyball team. During my early years at Bluffton I also participated in sports, but soon realized I was more focused on my career than the athletics of which I was apart. 

While I’m trying to find an internship for next summer before my senior year, Heydinger is working hard to play varsity volleyball here at Bluffton. These are both great things, we are just working towards different goals at our different stages in college.

That being said, I also enjoy supporting her at volleyball games and watching her play the sport she loves.

Growing close to a roommate is new to me and Heydinger and I are close friends, but because I am older than she is, I will graduate next spring and will no longer be living with her.

So far, it’s been great rooming with Sarah, and once I graduate, she will have to find someone else to room with. We’ve become close friends and I am thankful for that.

I couldn’t imagine living and growing close with someone else.

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