On Finding a Roommate
by Erin Connolly
We, as seniors, have come to the next step in the college admissions process. You have gotten your acceptance letters and you have decided where you will attend. You have spent the last few months finding a university compatible with your personality, goals, and interests, but the trouble and the difficult decisions do not end there. It is now time for the next big decision: who are you going to live with? A good roommate has just as much an effect, if not more, on the quality of someone’s freshman year experience than the university itself. It is crucial that you love your campus. It is necessary that you enjoy your classes. Still, if you despise the room you are going back to every night, all the positives you are receiving can be easily wiped away.
College roommates can make or break your experience. Everybody arrives on campus on move-in day looking forward to one thing: making friends to last the year, hopefully a lifetime. The first person you get to know is usually your roommate. Thus, it makes sense that most college students wish to become close friends with that person with who they share a room: an innocent enough wish, but one that may come with severe consequences. Roommate conflict is ranked one of the five top reasons students drop out of college. Whether it be due to opposite personalities, clashing schedules, or other external factors, it is likely one will go through rough patches with their roommate. In attempt to avoid these difficulties, students often look to find roommates similar to themselves: people with the same hobbies, tastes in music, ideals, or beliefs. BHS senior Nora Donahue shared with me that on top of being a considerate person who goes to bed at a reasonable hour, she hopes that her roommate likes sports (Nora plays on multiple volleyball teams and was a captain of the winter track team).
In some situations, the possibility of conflict is inevitable. Some schools do not allow you to choose your roommate, forcing you to live with someone completely random for the next year. Schools make their attempt to match these students up well, having them fill out housing surveys. Housing surveys are a helpful tool, but it is hard to predict personality compatibility with a twenty question multiple choice poll. This increases the chance of conflict between roommates. Schools that opt for self-selecting roommate procedures, as opposed to using these surveys see 65% less conflict between dorm mates than universities with other procedures.
Some schools opt for the ‘Freshman Triple’. Instead of having one roommate, all freshmen who live on campus will live with two other students. This is helpful to the university in terms of adequate housing for all who live on campus, but can raise issues amongst students. BHS alum Nicole Willett, a freshman psychology major with a minor in music at Bridgewater State University, shared with me her opinion on living in a triple, suggesting that “If you have three roommates, makes sure that you don’t get close too close to one and ignore the other- that creates an unequal tension that will gradually rise between the three of you”. Keep in mind that living in a triple is not always a recipe for disaster: you can always move out of your room if things become too hard to handle. At the beginning of the year, Nicole found herself stuck living with two bad roommates. After requesting a change, Nicole loves her current rooming situation, saying that “if one roommate goes home for the weekend, you’re still able to hang out with the other one. It isn’t lonely”.
There are different ways one can scout out potential roommates. People try to strike up conversations at orientation or at accepted students’ days and some use websites such as www.roomsurf.com; however, the most popular platform among college students seems to be Facebook. Once a student is accepted to a university, they join that school’s accepted students’ Facebook group. Students are able to post match.com-esque descriptions of themselves in hopes to find friends and roommates. BHS senior Jessica Wong found her roommate on the Boston University Facebook group. Jess explains: “I saw her post on [the BU group] and we began to chat. We bonded through our mutual frustration with Flappy Bird, and, since we have the same major, we decided to be roommates next year”. Jess is lucky to have found a roommate so early; many seniors are still searching.
On top of applying to and choosing a university, finding college roommates can be incredibly stressful for high school seniors. There are many tools available to students that will make the search easier, and if, in the end, you cannot find anyone, there is always the option to room with someone random. The process can be a difficult one, but with so many options out there, finding a roommate that you are compatible with is becoming more and more accessible.
Erin Connolly is a student in Advanced Placement English Language and Composition