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The Whirlwind of Roomates


Throughout the duration of college careers, students will inevitably face a variety of struggles, such as class scheduling, internships, and extra curricular activities. One of these challenges is a cornerstone of the college experience- determining a freshman year roommate.

This is an important decision because the people surrounding students at any time affect their lifestyles, beliefs and priorities. Sharing a space with another person allows a myriad of positive and negative possibilities. Due to the weight that this causes each person to have, many students believe they should be able to choose with whom they room with. On the other hand, a plethora of universities think it is a more beneficial idea to either randomly pair students together or allow them to take a series of quizzes in order to select sufficient pairs.

The main reason most colleges take this Marie-Antoinette-standpoint of overlooking what the people want, is because, according to Rutgers University professor, Carla Yanni, they want to emphasize “the fine art of getting along with their fellows.”

Dartmouth College’s very own Bruce Sacerdote said “As human beings we naturally gravitate towards our comfort zone and find peers who look a lot like ourselves.” Therefore, many students want to choose to room with their high school best friends because they already relate to their lifestyle, socioeconomic status, religion, and political views.

One anonymous student who lived with his high school best friend said “I didn’t realize what a pain he would be to live with!” However, the schools desire students to embark the ship of their college experience by taking on new circumstances. One way some colleges introduce these novelties is by having all first-year students inhabit dormitories, which creates a sense of community and likeliness because it breaches socioeconomic barriers that allow different living circumstances.

However, many schools want to break this barrier further. Schools, such as Duke University, think that by choosing roommates for students, it will allow them to branch out and make connections with people from different backgrounds. These schools want to prove that their students can embrace new ideas and experiences inside and outside of the classroom setting.
On the other hand, copious amounts of students do not want to rely on universities to satiate their roommate needs. The impact of spending so much time with someone, like one’s roommate, has a huge effect on people’s habits and lifestyles. Many studies have shown that roommates often pick up traits of each other, whether negative or positive.

Eating habits, social habits and extra curriculars of each person’s roommate can be fortuitous or perilous for students. For instance, peer pressure from your new roommates can greatly determine your success in school. One student from University of North Georgia, when asked if her freshman year roommate effect her, said “my roommate was always partying and always wanted me to join, so I did. My gpa went down really fast.” If someone’s roommate is taking Intro to Blacking Out, then they will be more likely to follow in their footsteps and study How to Throw a Rager 101.
Due to this tremendous impact from those around them, students prefer to have some say with the their future roommates, whether meeting them online or through university quizzes. Many schools, such as New York University, have students take online quizzes about academic hobbies, interests and personalities. A main focus of these quizzes is about personal habits of students, in order to determine cleanliness and sleep schedules.

While some students may be easy going and low maintenance, like a Honda, others may require someone to match their high energy and lifestyle. These questions help avoid having a person who likes an organized and clean room paired with someone who leaves the space a mess and as crowded as Shay stadium when The Beatles played.

However, there is no perfect way to coordinate roommates,as people often deploy the use of social desirability when taking these quizzes. They may answer incorrectly or falsely, in order to seem more coveted by potential roommates. Even if students are allowed to pick their roommates based on social media profiles, there can be issues, because the profiles may all be a facade of that person’s life.

This debacle of choosing a roommate has been an ongoing discussion for the past few decades, and is a continuous issue brought up at colleges and universities all across the country

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The Whirlwind of Roomates