They say you never forget your first (-year roommate). For Wilder Short ’22, Brett Thomas ’22, Josh Lin ’22 and David Bombard ’22, this is especially true. What began as a standard first-year roommate assignment has grown into four years of cohabitation, friendship and amateur rap tracks.
Beginning their journey in Hyde Hall, the four men have spent each subsequent year living and sleeping under the same roof, calling Howard Hall, Coles Tower and Park Row ‘home’ in the process.
While housing season can be stressful for many first-year students, when it came time for these roommates to figure out sophomore housing, it was a no-brainer.
“I don’t think there was one moment where I was like, ‘I want to live with these guys again,’ but when housing for our sophomore year rolled around, I didn’t even think twice about it,” Thomas said. “It wasn’t even like, ‘I want to live with these guys,’ it was like, ‘wait a minute, what do you mean we have to choose? I thought we were going to live together, the four of us, anyways.’ I didn’t think anyone would say no to that either because we worked so well together.”
In the middle of the group’s sophomore year, though, their time was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic. Faced with braving online school sans-roommates, the four men nonetheless found ways to keep in touch with one another. Playing JackBox games or Among Us while catching up over FaceTime suddenly became the new norm, but their tried and true traditions still had a place during their calls.
“Something that Josh brought in very early during our first year was ‘rose, bud, thorn.’ It was a nice way of staying in the loop our first and sophomore years, but when we would Zoom over COVID, we’d end our talks with Josh initiating ‘rose, bud, thorn,’ which I think was a nice, comforting thing,” Short said. “It was a good way to reflect with the roommates and feel like we were mentally together even if we couldn’t physically be together.”
While on campus, the group pursued a variety of passions and roles, but this didn’t stop the four men from taking an active interest in each roommate’s life. From supporting Bombard at his regattas to watching Lin perform a harp solo at his recital, each member of the friend group made it a priority to show up for their roommates.
“Even though I’ve never been too into soccer, and I definitely don’t watch as many matches as the rest of the guys do, I still enjoy listening to them talk about it,” Lin said. “I’m not just gonna hop on my phone while they talk statistics. I’m curious to hear what drives their passion for it.”
While the first-year roommate matching system remains a mystery to all but a few ResLife interns, the four roommates believe that it’s sometimes best to just trust the process.
“I feel grateful to the College and the roommate matching system for putting us all together,” Bombard said. “I think we’re a really cohesive group of guys, and I feel lucky to have been placed with these three. We’ve had a great experience.”