Ihad always wondered what living with a complete stranger would be like, and one of my childhood fantasies was studying at a boarding school. I was able to satisfy that curiosity when I came to the U.S. in 2011 to pursue my master’s degree. I had found a roommate, a fellow grad student, thanks to Facebook, and I still remember the trepidation I felt when I landed outside our apartment. But all my fear vanished once I saw a hand-drawn poster with the words “Welcome Naveen” stuck on the front door. My roommate answered the door with a big smile.

The idea for this portrait series germinated from my experience of living with my first roommate. The students photographed for this series are freshmen who are staying in a residence hall for the first time; some of them knew each other prior to becoming roommates, and some did not. I have tried to capture the relationship the roommates share with each other and with their room.


John & Brenden

Two boys holding video game controllers

John Shaver, left, and Brenden Maranan

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Me and my roommate have known each other for years and have been best friends for years, but living together has made us a lot closer. Living in these small dorm rooms is a shock at first, but you get used to tight space and little privacy. We were able to fit a lot in this room and still have space, so don’t be afraid of bringing enough.”
– John Shaver

My room feels like home. Even though I share it, it’s a nice place to hang out. My roommate and I are best friends, so it’s a good deal. Also I was nervous to make new friends, but I feel that aside from being more social, the room is a place people feel welcome at.”
– Brenden Maranan

Teddi & Alli

One girl curling another's hair

Teddi Moorman, left, and Alli Eckert

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Living with a complete stranger was a bit daunting at first, but once Allie and I started talking, we knew it would be just fine. We are completely compatible as roommates because we are now really great friends. I believe Allie and I will be friends forever.”
– Teddi Moorman

Living with my random roommate was definitely scary at first. I didn’t know what to expect, so I checked out her Facebook and got to know her that way. I met face-to-face for the first time on move-in day, and I was still nervous. We talked about different living rules and conditions and learned we are very much alike! I’m very happy with a random roommate!”
– Allie Eckert

Brooke & Haley

One girl standing and another shooting a foam basketball

Brooke Gray, left, and Haley Null

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Changing from a house to a small dorm means many challenges. I can’t just go to a different room and eat or watch TV or just get a change of scenery. The thing that helps the most is that I have known my roommate for a long time. We get along and know each other well. Our room matches our different personalities by design and order.”
– Brooke Gray

Brooke and I have been best friends for a really long time, so I was so happy when she became my roommate when she decided to go to Mizzou. We decided we would randomly pick bedspreads, with no particular theme, but we both ended up choosing animal print, so that became our theme. It’s been a big change going from a house to one small room, but sharing it with my best friend makes it liveable!”
– Haley Null

Kalya & Sophia

Two girls hugging in their room

Kalya Broeker, left, and Sophia Nichols

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I met Sophia online on you@mizzou. I decided to randomly email her and see if she was interested in living in Jones with me. She was, and we spent all summer texting and getting to know each other! Before we even met on move-in day we were already best friends! We clicked perfectly and adjusted great. We both aren’t super clean or messy people, and living together came natural.”
– Kayla Broeker

My roommate and I met random on you@mizzou. We got to know each other well and really got along. We’ve adjusted to living in such a small space by really keeping organized and not overcrowding the room. Don’t bring too much stuff!! We get along really well and have become best friends for sure.”
– Sophia Nichols

Mark & Adam

Three boys sitting in a room

Mutual friend Brian Kill, left, Mark Kim, center, and Adam Dietrich

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I enjoy living in this room. It’s like a mini-home rather than just a room. Adam [my roommate] and I have done a great job making this room as great as it can be. I like having Adam as my roommate. He always cracks me up. All of our friends just chill in this room since it’s so spacious in our room. We just talk, watch TV, play PS3, etc. All in all, I enjoy residential life in this hall, and I’m considering applying to be an RA in the future.”
– Mark Kim

The room that I now call my home is very different from what I am used to. It’s small and cozy, but it has a piece of my heart in it. Mark and I have really grown to love it here!”
– Adam Dietrich

Rachel & Kelly

Girls surrounded by shoes

Rachel Walther, left, and Kelly Gillock

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I came from living in a very large home, so moving into a tiny dorm room has definitely been an adjustment. There never seems to be space for anything, so you have to be super organized. I’ve also never had to share a room before. It’s really important to have rules but also be able to compromise if you want to live cohesively with your roommate. My roommate and I had never met before and are luckily very similar and get along very well despite having extremely different backgrounds. It is really cool to hear about a life completely different from your own and learn so much about another person. Overall, I’ve had a great experience and love my roommate.”
– Rachel Walther

I was always the type of person who loved to travel. My mom always commented that I was continuously living out of a suitcase — and I was! When I first came here, I thought it would be like that. At first it was. The small room didn’t bother me, but I got used to it, especially after having to share everything with three siblings. What I was more worried about was getting along with my roommate. What if we didn’t get along? What if she didn’t like me? After first talking to her, though, it didn’t seem like we would have a problem. Then we finally met and I knew from then on that we would be friends. Both of our crazy personalities get along well, and I’m glad that we ended up as roommates.”
– Kelly Gillock

Erin & Emily

Girls in the center of their room

Erin Nelson, standing, and Emily Russell

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My roommate is fantastic! We get along so well. And our room is really homey, so that makes adjusting much easier.”
– Erin Nelson

Erin and I met each other through the Mizzou class of 2017 Facebook group. We hit it off and texted all summer, which really helped meeting each other in person. It was fun to decorate our room, and Erin is a great roommate.”
– Emily Russell

Dayna & Megan

Two girls standing on storage cubes

Dayna Truger, left, and Megan Branstetter

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My roommate and I met on Facebook and just clicked. We are so similar, it works amazing. She is one of my best friends! Going from a four-bedroom house to a dorm has been fine. It is always clean and very colorful and feels like home. Our door’s always open, so it’s like this is just a room in a big house.”
– Dayna Truger

Moving from a multi-room home to a small cube room for an entire year is a huge adjustment but an experience everyone should have. I’ve met so many new people from all over the country and becoming great friends already! I met Dayna, my roommate for the first time over the summer, but we are so similar it’s almost weird. We have the best time living together, best friends already. The dorm life is something very different, but the best memories have happened here already!”
– Megan Branstetter

Morgan, Peyton & Breana

Girls sitting together

From left: Morgan Minniefield, Peyton Rosencrants, Breana McBride

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My roommates Peyton (Patty) and Breana (BreBop!) have become more than just friends in what seems to be a little time. They are supportive, funny and optimistic when I’m having a bad day coming home. Knowing I’ll see these two girls brightens my day. Although it was a major adjustment being so far away from home, my roommates make me feel as if I’m not far at all!”
– Morgan Minniefield

I didn’t know either of my suitemates before moving in, but once I met them we became fast friends! We have dinner together every night and always talk about our days together. We keep each other in line, too. One of our best nights together was when we rode the tiger then danced around downtown. It hasn’t been too hard of an adjustment living in a smaller room. It’s kind of nice having all my stuff in one spot!”
– Peyton Rosencrants

I have adopted three new sisters. It was kind of weird because I knew Morgan previously and just met Peyton, but we clicked instantly. We spend every day together. Moving from a house to a dorm is different, space and amenity wise. However, it has been fun, and now I’m used to it.”
– Breana McBride

Brooke & Kadi

Girls on a bunk bead

Brooke Agard, top, and Kadi Fauble

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My roommate and I had been talking about our dorm room for months and months last year. We wanted it to be perfect and match completely. We love our classy lamp that took us forever to find, and we love it! We bunked our beds to have as much space as possible for dancing around and having a good time with each other! Except the carpet is slick, so watch out while dancing!”
– Brooke Agard

This new experience of college has gone much smoother than I thought it would be. I think that mostly has to do with my roommate. We are so similar, and we operate in the same way. When we told our friends that we were rooming together, they told us that it would never work, but that hasn’t been true, and we get along perfectly. I love Mizzou, our room and my roommate!”
– Kadi Fauble