The time is drawing near and it is time to finalize roommate requests for the upcoming year. Choosing a roommate wisely will help you avoid a lot of unnecessary frustration and drama throughout the school year. There are several things to consider when selecting a roommate: are you friends, are you in the same major, and did you accurately complete your resident profile sheet.
Rooming with your high school best friend seems like the perfect scenario. You both know each other, you enjoy the same things, and you are already friends. Ideally this would be the prefect criteria when selecting a roommate, however this is not the criteria you want to use to use when assessing roommate options. It has been proven time and time again, that friends make the worst roommates. As a student affairs professional and mediator in a multitude of roommate disagreements, friends often present the worst fights. Roommates that were friends first, know what makes each other tick and use that to their advantage. The roommate fights are often personal and have nothing to do with typical roommate issues of using personal items, temperature control, and quiet hours. These issues are usually tied to issues that stem from incidents experienced before rooming together. Another common reason conflicts arise among friends, can be connected to one of the friends making new friends and spending less time with the roommate. Going to college, provides students the chance to branch out and meet new people. This is a good when both friends are on the same page. However if one friends does not want to share their friend with new people problems feelings will be hurt and problems will arise. Lastly, college is a time for self-exploration. This poses a problem if one of the roommates begins to grow, change, and have new interests that do not include their roommate. As you age, people grow apart and develop new interest. When this separation begins to happen, friction occurs and then there is conflict. Rooming with friends seems like the best scenario, but it often does not yield the best results.
The second factor to consider: is this person in my major. Again, this sounds like a good idea in theory. You have someone that has the same career goals, you will be in the same classes, have similar schedules, and have someone to relate to what you are going through. The downside of living with someone in your major is that they are in the same classes and you do have similar schedules which means you are with this person all day long. After a long day in class, you are then living with that person. Being with the same person all day, does not give you a break and allow you time to yourself. You will have a better chance of growing your relationship with someone you do not spend the entire day with.
The last factor to consider when selecting a roommate is did YOU accurately and honestly complete the resident profile sheet in your application packet. A large number of students will have their parents complete the application packet. In doing so, the parents will answer the questions based on their knowledge of who they think you are and their knowledge may not be close to the reality of who you really are. The questionnaire is really seeking truthful information about who you are, what your habits are, and what you enjoy. The will help pair you with the person based on their truthful responses. So if you smoke cigarettes and your parents are unaware you could be placed in a room with someone that is allergic to smoke. This could and probably will cause issues for you and your roommate when they discover you bring the smell of smoke every time you enter the room.
Pairing roommates together is not easy, and the easy option is not always the best option. You want to ensure that you enter into each situation with an open mind and mutual respect. You will be exposed to people from different backgrounds and lifestyles. Give the person a chance, find things you can do together, and try things they enjoy (and show them things you love). It is great to get a roommate that is diverse and can share what happens in their family, in their major, and during their extracurricular activities. Having a roommate to share new experiences with will help make the transition to college more educational and exciting to all involved.