Story by Marianna Moore

Living with someone who comes from a completely different background than yourself might seem scary, but these roommates wouldn’t have it any other way. Shirley Tay and Virginia Kruse have become great friends after being randomly assigned to live together in Dogwood Residence Hall.

Kruse had gone all summer without a roommate assignment. Then, days before arriving at Mizzou, she noticed Tay had been assigned to her room.

Shortly after move-in, Kruse invited Tay to come home with her for the weekend. They spent three hours together in the kitchen while Tay prepared a five-course meal. From there, a bond was formed.

“It ended up working out really great for us,” Kruse says.

Tay is from Singapore and was used to living alone in a single dorm. Virginia is a Missouri native and has always shared a room with her younger sibling. Despite their differences, the two of them have learned that compromise and communication are two components that keep their friendship going.

“It’s important to reach out to the person and communicate what your expectations are beforehand,” Tay says. “Set ground rules and get to know the person before you meet — know in advance about who is this person that you’re going to be living with.”

For Kruse, it’s all about mindset.

“Make it your priority to become their friend,” she says. “When you first show up, your roommate is going to be your first friend.”

Sarah smiles while talking with her hands. Megan, sitting to her left, smiles along.

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