Tips for Getting Along with Your Freshman Year Zoommate

Caroline Doyle and Ginny Hogan

Like many colleges, we are planning to continue “educating” our students online through the end of 2020. Luckily, our administration is pairing up incoming freshmen with a Zoommate to accompany you as you watch your freshman year happen from afar. Here are some tips for getting along, despite the close quarters! 

  1. Write a Zoommate agreement. Make sure to specify quiet hours – the time when you won’t be Zooming, because one of you needs to sleep, eat, or silently wail in despair. 
  2. Take regular walks to get some alone time. As a reminder, these should be solitary, and maybe also not that regular. 
  3. Stagger your bedtimes to avoid spending too much time together. If your Zoommate is sleeping from midnight to 9 am, try sleeping from 9 am to midnight. Time of day is irrelevant now, anyway. 
  1. Try not to be disrespectful. For example, keep your half of the room clean, or at least, put a beachy background on Zoom when it’s a mess. To be sensitive to the current moment, make sure the beach is closed, or that any unmasked beachgoers are properly ashamed. 
  1. Don’t sexile your roommate. Even if you wanted to have someone over, it would be irresponsible, because standard means of sexual protection don’t work for COVID (though many have tried).
  2. Participate in extracurriculars to keep yourself busy. You could try online sorority rush, online intramural volleyball, or online crying-uncontrollably-because-your-freshman-year-is-nothing-like-the-TV-show-Greek
  1. Confide in your Zoommate about your romantic secrets.
  1. If you get locked out of your Zoom, call customer service before turning to your Zoommate for help. She’s annoyed that you’ve already asked 14 times, and she liked having the Zoom to herself anyway.
  2. Don’t join the improv team. This is just a general freshman year tip, quarantine or not.
  3. Discuss your potential major with your Zoommate, even if you think she’s just chasing trends.
  1. If you get so drunk you have to vomit, do so in the bathroom. Hurling on your laptop may break your keyboard thereby inhibiting communication with your Zoommate, which will only increase existing tension. It will also piss off your mom, who then has to buy you a new one.
  2. If you think your Zoommate is eating your snacks, she’s not. That was you. You ate those.
  1. It’s possible to change Zoommates if you really don’t get along, but if you do, blame it on bad WiFi, to avoid hurt feelings.
  1. Remember that since the dawn of college, everyone has struggled with their freshman year Zoommate. For some, they turn out to be their all-time best friend, but for others, it’s a chance to learn how to share your screen with someone you might otherwise not like. It’s ok if it’s hard, humans weren’t designed to look at other people when there exists the option to look at ourselves. But be patient – college is about learning, sort of.
  2. If worse comes to worst, put your Zoommate on mute, and be grateful that you have the option. 

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