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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, March 4, 2024

From roommates to best friends: Stories of seniors who lived with their first-year roommates throughout college

A collage of four-year roommates is pictured, featuring Himay Dharani and Michael Eve (top left), Cole Taylor and Harsh Prajapati (top middle), Zoish Dubash and Elizabeth Corn (top right), Carrie Haynes and Rebecka Henrikson (bottom left), and Anna Joseph and Ruby Belle Booth (bottom right).

As the school year comes to a close, many goodbyes are in order. For a lucky few seniors, changing roommates was never necessary. Now they are facing the harsh reality of saying goodbye to the only roommate they’ve ever known. 

Here are the stories of Anna Joseph and Ruby Belle Booth, Cole Taylor and Harsh Prajapati, Zoish Dubash and Elizabeth Corn, Carrie Haynes and Rebecka Henrikson, and Himay Dharani and Michael Eve

Anna Joseph and Ruby Belle Booth

Booth recalled being overwhelmed by Joseph's ability to be herself when they first met at Tufts.

Joseph had participated in a pre-orientation program and had had time to settle in and make a few friends, while Booth was just arriving.By the end of their first September at Tufts, the two were very close. 

“With your roommate, you are sort of forced to spend time together, but then I feel like we actually enjoyed it,”Booth said.

Over the past four years, the pair has shared many parts of their college experience. Joseph and Booth even chose the same major. Booth was always going to study history, but Joseph decided to tag along as well. 

“I'm pre-med, so I went in thinking I’d be a biology major, but we both loved history, and then I was like, ‘You know what, I'm just going to be a history major,’”Joseph said.

As an ode to their love of history and dressing up, they've thrown a President’s Day party together every year.This past year, while hanging out with their housemates, they dressed up as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. 

“We always go really hard on the invitation — we would create poems about the history of America,” Booth said. 

Obsessing over niche interests is a core part of their friendship. One of their favorite topics is rats and other critters, and to celebrate this, they dressed up as Alfredo Linguini and Remi the rat from the movie "Ratatouille" for Halloween during their sophomore year.

In addition to dressing up, the pair spends time researching random topics. 

“We once during junior year scheduled a date to sit down and read the Wikipedia page for Scientology,” Joseph said. “That's something I would do on my own time, but it's so wonderful to have someone to share those really random things.”

For Joseph and Booth, these shared experiences have meant everything to them these past four years. What has also brought them closer is their shared love for daily journaling. Booth has a five-year journal in which she writes about her daily activities, and Joseph has a similar picture diary.

Now their journals are filled with shared memories, so they can reminisce together.

"We would be lying in our beds doing our thing, and I would be reading about the year before. I’m like ‘Oh, today is the day that we put extra cinnamon on the snickerdoodles in Carm for the first time,’” Booth said. “I just think college is a really weird and hard time ... We've both grown a lot. I feel like having someone who's been there the whole time and knows every intricate embarrassing step of becoming real humans is very reassuring.”

If they end up in the same place, they said they would continue living together. Either way, they are planning on being in each other’s lives forever. 

“We always talked about literally the rest of our lives [and] how my kids will come visit [Booth],” Joseph said. "We've already established our roles … in our weddings.”

There is no stopping the connection between these four-year roommates and lifelong friends. 

“I think [we are] definitely in it for the long haul,” Booth said. 

Cole Taylor and Harsh Prajapati

When Taylor and Prajapati both showed up on move-in day with ironing boards, they knew they had met their match. Despite being randomly assigned roommates, their lifestyles, hobbies and academic pursuits coincided perfectly.

Their first double was in Tilton Hall, where they shared the same definition of a nice living space. Both made their beds every morning and generally kept the room clean and organized.  

In Tilton, Taylor and Prajapati also developed a close group of mutual friends. Before they moved into a house with their friends during junior and senior year, their double was a social hub. You could catch them playing Super Smash Smash Bros., setting up a projector to watch Marvel movies or blasting a variety of music for pregames.

Along with sharing a room, they shared many classes. Both studying engineering, they would work on physics homework sets together. Prajapati shared that Taylor taught him how to look at problems differently. Whereas Prajapati worked through problems quickly, Taylor took his time. 

“In physics, for instance, Cole would think through a problem 10 times longer than I would, and I would jump to an answer. Seventy-five percent of the time, I would be wrong and Cole would be right," Prajapati said. "I think that just encouraged me to think through things more often than not in whatever I’m doing.” 

While Taylor taught Prajapati how to think more critically, Prajapati brought Taylor a different side to the friendship.

“I think I was always blown away at how much [Harsh] would communicate and care, because I feel like I hadn't experienced that with a lot of guy friends,” Taylor said. 

Having each other as roommates from the start made the adjustment to college much easier, Taylor explained. 

“A lot of people felt pretty lonely in their first semester,” Taylor said. “I think we were unique in the sense that, because … we were friends instantly ... It was pretty fun [and] there was no loneliness ever.”

Unfortunately, their streak of living together ends this month. However, they said they could envision themselves living across the street from each other one day. 

Zoish Dubash and Elizabeth Corn

While Dubash and Corn see themselves as an unlikely pairing, they have nonetheless remained roommates since day one. Both decided not to do pre-orientation programs, leaving them disoriented for the first few weeks of college.

“We arrived on scene being like, ‘How does everyone know each other already?’” Dubash said. 

In lieu of pre-orientation friends, they had each other. Their first point of connection was a shared love of food. They would often go into Boston to try out new places or go on North End dinner dates. Their most infamous year together was sophomore year, when they were randomly assigned to live in a Latin Way suite with half of the football team. 

“It was so filthy. I've never experienced dirt like that,” Dubash said. “I was taking showers with the beer bottles they were leaving in there. It [was] repulsive.” 

On top of the mess that accumulated, Corn and Dubash had very different living styles from the football boys.

“We were very friendly with them, but I think I wanted to kill them all, at a certain point, because I just wanted to sleep and study and there were 50 people in our common room at all times right outside screaming and partying,” Corn said. 

The pair said that ultimately, living in that environment together made them closer friends and even better roommates. 

“We survived so many stressful, distressing, anger-inducing, just difficult situations. I think it definitely made us closer roommates,” Corn said. 

During that same year, they visited each other in their hometowns. Corn went to visit Dubash in Singapore and Dubash visited Corn in Tampa several times.

Since Dubash is an international student, the pandemic has been especially stressful because there were many times when the pair didn’t know when they would next see each other; they worried that Dubash would not be able to return to Tufts in the fall. One of the most poignant memories was when Corn dropped Dubash off at the airport at the start of the pandemic when she was returning to Singapore.

“We get to the gate and the security guy goes, ‘You better hug her for a long time because you're not going to see her for ages,’” Dubash said. “I started bawling and I would not stop until the flight took off.”  

Through all the ups and downs of college, Corn and Dubash have always supported each other. Having the same roommate for four years has brought them the ultimate sense of security. 

“I just feel very safe with [Dubash] in every way,” Corn said. “When we're in the stage of life that's constantly changing and we're trying to figure things out, having that one constant has been really nice.” 

Carrie Haynes and Rebecka Henrikson

Although roommates Carrie Haynes and Rebecka Henrikson initially had two very different definitions of home, they were able to create a new sense of the word at Tufts. 

Haynes, from Nashville, was at first nervous to meet her roommate Henrikson, from London.

“I thought she was very cosmopolitan and cool. And I was this little small-town girl,” Haynes said. 

They both claimed that they weren’t the best of friends right away but after living together for a few months, that changed. And when they left for winter break, both realized how close they had become. 

“I remember Christmas break [our first year], I had one of those horrible last exam days, so I was alone for three days. I remember the moment [Rebecka] left I was so sad — I sobbed and sobbed,” Haynes said. “Rebecka had written me a little note and left candy on my bed. I remember finding it [and thinking to myself], ‘This is a real friendship.’

From then on, small gestures became a very large part of their friendship. 

“[Our first year], one of my dogs unexpectedly died, and it was very sad for me. Carrie sent me a book that was about grieving a dog’s death,” Henrikson said. “[Carrie is] very good at those little acts of love."

As first-years, they enjoyed quiet meals together in Carmichael Dining Center, and now they love running errands together. They also frequently converse about their favorite books and podcasts.  

Not only have they shared their time together, but they have shared their family. Henrikson has routinely gone home with Haynes to her family’s home in Nashville on Thanksgiving, sometimes even accompanied by her brother, who also goes to school in the United States.

During the pandemic, despite their six-hour time difference, they still found ways to connect. When the time difference was too inconvenient, they would send each voice memos to listen to when the other one woke up. 

“I have so many memories from being in lockdown in London and going on walks [and] just talking to Carrie on the phone,” Henrikson said.

Their time apart during the pandemic was a test of their friendship, but it showed them they can stay close no matter the distance. However, they are both sad about their future without each other as their plans will force them to live in different cities after graduation. 

“I think the idea that we won't be part of the fabric of each other's daily lives in that way [is hard],” Haynes said. “I'm just going to miss the casual encounters of our relationship.” 

Having the same roommate all four years made them both feel closer to home, because they had each other. 

“I think it comes back to that growing with one person over the course of the four years,'' Henrikson said. “A close female friendship is just a very unique thing.”

Himay Dharani and Michael Eve

When looking for a first-year roommate, Himay Dharani filled out a pairing system and was matched with a “Michael.” However, he was not given a last name, so he searched “Michael” and “Tufts” on Facebook. One of the first names to pop up was Michael Eve, who ended up being Dharani’s roommate for the next four years. 

While their roommate pairing had nothing to do with listed preferences, by chance they had many of the same interests, which included engineering and Marvel. Their dorm for their first year was the hangout space for them and their friends. At one point, they even brought the common room’s couch into their room. Inside, they would have friends over to listen to music and play videogames. 

“We're big into playing music,” Eve said. “I love blasting music and I had just gotten my first speaker that I had ever really purchased for myself, so that was a big thing.”

Over their four years together, they have gotten to know each other on an emotional level. They both noted that their friendship is brotherly. Dharani said Eve is like the older brother, whereas he is like the younger brother.  

“We balance each other out,” Eve said. 

One summer, Dharani had an internship in Eve’s neighborhood, Brooklyn, and Eve let Dharani stay at his house. Since Eve was gone, Dharani stayed in Eve’s childhood room and became best friends with Eve’s mom.

After graduation, the two are not saying goodbye. They are signed up for a fifth year of living together in Boston. Neither of them has the exact words to describe their friendship, but they both found it to be impactful.

“We've met so many people together and made many friends together ... I am definitely very thankful for having Michael around,” Dharani said.

In response, Eve reiterated these sentiments. 

“[Himay] has just been my dude,” Eve said.