It is that time of year again: move-in time. Thousands of students are descending upon college campuses across the nation, prepared, or maybe not, to make the most of sharing a small space with one or more students for the next school year. While many upperclassmen eagerly await this opportunity to be reunited with old friends, freshmen may approach the day with a mixture of apprehension and excitement.
What will their new roommate be like? What if he or she is a total weirdo?
Students are increasingly turning to online methods of finding a roommate in order to avoid what they believe could be an unbearable experience of being randomly paired with an individual with different moral or social ideals.
Over 400 university students are registered on Uroomsurf.com, a website that allows users to take a survey and then “review all same sex users [from their college network] ranked by compatibility percentage.” Users can message an individual that appears to be a good match and decide whether or not to apply to room together at their campus.
Sites like Uroomsurf may be convenient tools in finding a roommate with similar interests, but they cannot beat the excitement and rewards of going potluck. At the university, this option means the Office of Housing and Residence Life makes your room assignment based on the information you submit in a short questionnaire. The questionnaire contains only a few basic questions about whether or not you smoke, prefer a clean room and your regular sleeping hours. With this system, you are not automatically guaranteed a good match.
I have heard the horror stories about going potluck, but as a veteran of the system, I can say that it can result in a happy ending.
I decided to go potluck my freshman year, and my roommate and I eventually became very close friends. The key to our success was our mindset going in. We were open and accepting of each other’s differences and we embraced our similarities. We were willing to compromise on our desires when they conflicted.
Being open-minded in this type of situation may seem like an overly simple solution, but it often works. If you and your roommate refuse to respect each other, your relationship is almost certainly doomed to join the ranks of those that have failed.
Although being matched randomly with another student may not always work, it is worth the risk. You may end up finding a friend you would have never been interested in knowing otherwise. After all, opposites do attract. And if all else fails, you can always switch roommates at the end of the semester. Whether going potluck ends well or is a disaster, the experience is surely one to be remembered.
Sarah Ziomek is a sophomore environmental science major from Keller.