The Bruin Club

Dorms Declassified: 11 ‘Kinds’ of Roommates



Me and my current roommate: the lovely Brianna Gilmore


Hello! My name is Alejandra (Ali) Gatas Johnson and I am your Dorms Declassified: Brown Survival Guide blogger. Living in a dorm with a roommate was one of the things that I was most excited but also nervous about for college. This blog is to help ease the concern and provide insight on residential life at Brown.

Moving into the dorms and leaving home can be a major lifestyle shift, especially when you add living with a nearly complete stranger.While I understand that there’s no ‘typical’ roommate and people can not be categorized or generalized, I have found there to be a few trends in roommate behavior and personality. I hope to provide a small glimpse into living with another human. Below you should find a list of different flavors of roommates you may encounter. These are hyperbolized characterizations

1. The One Who’s Never There

You barely see them. They are always out of the room chilling with their friends, staying with their significant other, at an organization’s meeting, or studying in the library. At most, you see them for 5 minutes. You go to bed before they come home and wake up after they leave. You get the single room experience with a double size room. You always have “me” time.

2. The Hermit

This roommate never leaves the room. They constantly get take-out boxes from the Ratty and hole themselves up in their rooms. They seem to always be in hibernation mode. They spend their Friday night watching Netflix. The only time they seem to leave is for their mandatory attendance courses. They always seem to be sitting in the room. At times it is a blessing, you always have someone to talk to and lean on. You truly get to know your roommate.

3. The One Who Shares Too Much

When you first met, you were really excited to have such a friendly, talkative person. With time, you begin to realize that nothing is off limits for discussion. This roommate is the definition of TMI. They don’t seem to have boundaries- in conversation… in ‘borrowing’ clothes, brushes, items… in eating other people’s snacks… in respecting sides of the room.

4. The Passive Aggressor

This roommate holds grudges. They write notes about everything and leave notes everywhere. Confrontations never happen in person. Instead, this roommate glares across the room and gives side eye at every opportunity. This roommate huffs and sighs instead of using words. Nothing is ever resolved.

5. The Partier

This roommate constantly goes out and gets turnt. They always go to parties and somehow manage to rally every day. Regardless of the weather, they doll themselves up and go out. You come back to your room and find a pre-game at peak lit-ness. This roommate often stumbles in at 3 am. They seem to know everyone. They are the best social insider you know and the best person to go to a party with.

6. The Koala

This roommate is a clinger. They never seem to be able to leave your side. The moment you got your roommate assignment, they sent you multiple emails and messages asking for details about you and your life. They always want to go with you to dinner. They join the same clubs you are in. You are never left alone. They want to know where you are and when you will be back to the room. This roommate is great when you are first building your community. They are your first friend.

7. The Clean One

This roommate has their life together- or at least their room. They have a matching comforter set and color-coded canvases and file folders. Their side of the room is always spotless. This roommate perpetually swiffers and vacuums every week. They even make their bed every morning. Their cleanliness makes you feel guilty for your chaotic side and slightly embarrassed when friends come and visit and see the difference between the two sides. This roommate is a great asset. The room always smells fresh and clean.

8. The Slob

They feel most comfortable in a chaotic mess. This roommate leaves crumbs in their bed, has a plastic water bottle tower on their side of the room, and lets mold grow on their dishes. They are super slobby. Every common space surface is sticky and the room always has a weird odor. This roommate makes you feel better about your side of the room.

9. The Night Owl

This roommate begins their homework at midnight and works throughout the night. They frequently state that they “work better at night.” They work all night and sleep all day (if they sleep at all). You worry that they never see the sun. They are a great study buddy when you need to cram for an exam or need a companion after a long day and need someone to talk to.

10. The Overachiever

This roommate is involved in everything. You wonder if there is a club they aren’t the president of. You can’t imagine how they balance everything and worry that they stretch themselves so thin. They choose to double concentrate in concentrations heavy in requirements. They will be a great network contact for the future, as they have their fingers in everything,

11. The Best Friend

This roommate quickly becomes your best friend. You have the same loves, music preferences, and habits. They are the first person you want to talk to when something happens to you. If you go somewhere, you go together. They are your soulmate.

In my experience, NO ONE is only on of these types of roommates. It differs by person and by time of year and level of roommate relationship. I know I personally, have been pretty much all of these at some point with my roommate this year and my roommate last year. The adventure of living with someone is getting to know their tendencies and learn about who they are.

If you have comments or questions about this column or anything related to Brown, please email me at