The Path from Roommates to Soulmates


Two happy Oxy roommates

The moment I found out I got into Oxy Early Decision I, I felt so much joy and relief. I had put so much hard work into getting my Oxy application together with the essays and preparing for the ACT. After this big accomplishment, the next step in the process was to find a roommate.

I hadn’t put too much thought into it at the time because of the admissions priorities, but I was nervous about it because of my brother’s not-so-great roommate experience as an undergrad at another college. I had some knowledge of the process; it was similar to a dating profile or questionnaire: it would ask about me and my likes and dislikes. What I didn’t know at the time was that a fellow Armenian girl accepted into the Class of 2021 had also noticed that I, an Armenian girl, was a member of the Class of 2021, through the Oxy Facebook group. A month later, in January, I received a Facebook message from Serena Pelenghian, asking if I was Armenian (which really made me laugh since it’s obvious from my -ian last name that I am) and that day our friendship and road to being soulmates began. 

We messaged each other and found out we’re both local and had mutual friends, but had never met. If you don’t already know, the Armenian community is very tight-knit, so if you’re not related to someone, your friend is—we call it one degree of separation. So we decided to meet up and we found out we were very alike and had many things in common. It was fate, and we decided to be roommates. 

Looking back today, from our first awkward encounter with each other at Urth Caffé to traveling to England together to visit my brother, I think about our last three years of getting to know each other has been full of bonding and learning about each other. At first, it was unclear whether roommates were supposed to automatically become friends or how that would happen. But each night spent in our first dorm room together, Braun 102, we got to know each other better and began to understand each other’s quirks, pet peeves and habits. It all happened very naturally. 

We had our own bedtimes because I played volleyball and had lift at 7 a.m. and she had mostly evening classes, but we learned how to balance out our schedules by sharing our daily schedules and activities with each other. After our first semester, it was clear that we were more than roommates, we were best friends who were so lucky to have found each other. 

We have many friends who chose to take the random roommate route our first-year and were happy and thriving as well. After our first year, people mostly decided to select close friends as roommates. Either way, living with a stranger may seem daunting at first, but once you get to know the person you’re living with and find out the reasons why you were matched together when you took the roommate selection questionnaire (something we still had to do even though we chose each other), it’s easy to bond over similarities and even differences that you can learn to love, even if it means that your roommate sleeps at 2 a.m. most of the time (cough cough)—compromise is key. 

Today, Serena and I share the same best friends and support each other in everything we do, whether it’s her supporting me at my volleyball game or me reading and sharing her Occidental pieces (which are always amazing). Of course, we have our own communities on campus with our separate majors, movie and tv show interests (she likes dramas and I like comedies, always an issue) and our future career goals. At the end of the day, literally, we can come back to our most current home, in our cozy room in Berkus, and discuss our class lecture (we’re currently in a class together), our tough coffee hiatus, a new song we found on Spotify, the many ice cream shops we want to try in L.A. and ways we can improve our co-presidency for ASA (Armenian Students Association). 

Serena has made my Oxy experience the best I can ask for and more, and I am so grateful to have her as a roommate, best friend, sister and soulmate. Our love for Oxy brought us together, and our friendship, collaboration and teamwork propelled our Oxy experience into something truly sacred and unforgettable which I am forever thankful for.