Perfect Pairs: Roommates who’ve lived together for four years
Assigned roommates. It’s a struggle that almost all new students at Rice have to deal with. But sometimes these pairings work out surprisingly well, leading to great friendships and pairs who live together all four years.
This was the case for Lovett seniors Tess Gabert and Meghana Gaur.
“I love Meg a lot,” Gabert said. “She’s a really special person in my life.”
When Gabert first received Gaur’s roommate questionnaire in the mail, she was nervous. From Gaur’s mathematical economic analysis major to the specific instructions for how to pronounce her first name, Gabert thought Gaur would be intimidating.
“I also have terrible eyebrows, and her eyebrows were also intimidating,” Gabert said.
Gaur, however, was worried that Gabert wouldn’t like her.
“My friend thought Tess would think I was really weird because I didn’t have an Instagram,” Gaur said. “[My friend said,] ‘Oh, you have to get one so she can stalk you to make sure you’re normal.”
For McMurtry seniors Carlin Cherry and Simone Bergsrud, a friendship grew naturally. Initially, Bergsrud worried they wouldn’t get along because Cherry was quiet when they first met, but several hours later, the roommates had bonded.
“We told [each other] all of our secrets the first night,” Bergsrud said.
Gabert and Gaur also grew close quickly — so quickly that Gaur’s friend doubted how close they actually were.
“[Gabert] came to Target with my [Orientation Week] group,” Gaur said. “[I had a friend] in my O-Week group, and he was like, ‘There’s no way you guys are actually friends.’”
For McMurtry seniors Ben Rieden and Craig Broadman, however, the connection took time to form. Although they had a lot in common, they didn’t immediately bond.
“We didn’t really talk a bunch at first,” Rieden said. “I think it took maybe a few weeks or maybe a month before we really clicked.”
Eventually their proximity brought them together. After a night of studying, Rieden returned to their room to find Broadman shooting a ball into their trash can. They spent the rest of the night getting trick shots on-camera.
“That was definitely the moment that our friendship went to the next level,” Broadman said.
They soon began to embrace their common interests and similarities, discovering that they had the same sense of humor and similar taste in TV shows and music. Broadman and Rieden also shared a love of sports, which was so strong that they signed up for every single intramural sports team at McMurtry.
“We signed up for billiards when we had not ever been good at that,” Broadman said.
Bergsrud and Cherry also bonded over common interests. They both enjoyed comedy, and Cherry’s interest in politics led them to start watching The Daily Show together.
The two also do the Thresher crossword puzzles together every Wednesday. Every week, they start it as a competition to see who can finish first but always end up helping each other out. It works out well — each one usually has the answers to the hints that the other does not.
“We have similar interests, but also complementary interests,” Bergsrud said.
Like Cherry and Bergsrud, Broadman and Rieden also came together over shared experiences and even influenced each other’s interests. When Rieden got involved in sports betting this past summer, he began messaging Broadman about it until he developed an interest too. And Broadman, Rieden said, is the reason he joined a club baseball team.
Gaur and Gabert became close friends — so close, in fact, that their friends assume they are always together.
“People are like, ‘Where is your other half?’” Gabert said. “I get asked that question so many times.”
However, they aren’t sure they would have been close friends if they weren’t roommates.
“So much of our friendship has developed in weird moments where we’re brushing our teeth or randomly going to bed at the same time and we can’t sleep so we’re murmuring at each other,” Gabert said.
Cherry, too, feels that her friendship with Bergsrud solidified through moments that only roommates share.
“I think that in being roommates, you just naturally have so many experiences together that it creates this virtuous cycle where you continue to be good friends,” Cherry said.
Ultimately, all three pairs value their time as roommates.
“I’m grateful to Rice for giving me my best friend,” Gabert said.
More from The Rice Thresher
The Thresher opinion piece by an anonymous student describing his deferral from Rice following a schizophrenic episode and the 2017 hospitalization of Michael Lu highlight stories of mental health on campus that are often kept under wraps. Hoping to shed more light on the topic, we opened a call for submissions to both students and alumni. We present their stories here and hope they provide a glimpse into the intensely personal, difficult journey that constitutes seeking care.