What do you mean “roommate”?March 5, 2014
Perhaps one of the most popular questions from incoming students is “Can I have a single room?” or some variation thereof. At Truman, the answer is: more than likely, no. For students with certain disabilities or medical conditions, Disability Services on campus can work with you to arrange for a single room if you’d like. The reality is, though, most students freshman year will be sharing a room with a friend, someone they met through the Facebook page for their graduation year, or someone they just started texting/emailing in June and maybe met at Orientation after finding out they’d been randomly placed together. While you may be dreading sharing a room, trust me, it’s not the end of the world. But here are some things to consider when it comes to selecting (or not selecting) roommates.
To Be or Not to Be (with a Friend)
For those students who have friends coming with them to Truman in the fall, this is a huge dilemma. I’m sure most people have heard the warnings that rooming with friends can destroy your relationship, but that isn’t always the case. What matters is how you live together. Some people have really wonderful friendships, but you have to remember, in high school, you usually aren’t living and sharing a space with that person 24/7 for nine months. You may be best friends since kindergarten and think you know everything there is to know about that person (and you may actually), but little habits and ticks that you can ignore pretty easily now tend to be exacerbated when you’re living together.
Mannerisms aside, what are their living habits like? Does your friend snore at night? Are they a party type or more of a study type (and does that match up with your preference)? Are they super clean, a little messy? What are your limits with visitors and cleanliness, level of noise at certain times of day, etc? You may be super compatible in social life, but that doesn’t always equate to compatible roommates. This is why we focus on pairing students with someone based on living habits over interests.
That said, there are some friends who room together and it’s fantastic! The biggest cause of friendship-destruction in a rooming situation (and any rooming situation, really) tends to be the lack of communication. When something bothers you (like your friend’s other friend is spending the night again), people tend to be less likely to mention it to their friend/roommate. Not bringing it up when it’s an issue lets the problem fester and build until you boil over and everything just explodes—and that’s kind of messy.
So, especially if you’re rooming with a friend, be sure that you can communicate and do so well with that person in case things aren’t perfectly dandy.
Hey, I Just Met You…Here’s My Number
While I was a student on campus, I went through the random roommate process twice and ended up with decent roommates both times. The random matching process I realize can cause some anxiety because you don’t know who you’re going to be paired with, but we do our best to match you with someone who has similar living habits to you—so be realistic, not idealistic, when answering those questions on the housing app (especially about cleanliness). The point of a roommate isn’t to be super best friends forever, though sometimes, that’s how it works out and you’ll be bridesmaids/groomsmen in each other’s weddings someday. But that shouldn’t be the goal or the ideal; if it happens, great! If not, that doesn’t mean it was a failed or terrible experience—trust me, after working in Residence Life for almost 3 years, I know some really terrible experiences, though, thankfully, they tend to be in the minority. Be open-minded about the experience and strive to make it a livable situation for you both. This means communicating with each other when something bothers you (like you’re embarrassed to bring your friends to the room because your roommate’s underwear is lying all over the place). ResLife does offer roommate agreements that you are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to complete during Truman Week and revisit a few months in; this agreement is to include any courtesies you desire of each other—such as no guests on weeknights, or we’ll clean the bathroom every other week—and provides a starting point for res. hall staff mediation should an issue escalate into an argument/Nerf war/nuclear explosion of trash/etc.
If all else fails and it ends up being one of those awful, “there is no way I can stand to look at her again” situations, ResLife does have a process for changing rooms. You are welcome to request a room change after the first two weeks of classes have passed, and you may have options within your current building or in another building on campus, depending on availability. Our ultimate goal is to make sure you are in a living situation in which you feel comfortable. This is part of a learning and growing experience, though, so we do want to try to resolve any issues there may be or find a way to make it a workable situation—yes, you may have to compromise (it won’t kill you, I promise)—before giving up on it entirely.
If the random process is giving you heart palpitations and you don’t want to room with a friend, some students will use the Facebook page for their year to meet other Truman-bound students and find a roommate that way. On the TSU Class of 2018 page, there was recently an entire week dedicated to finding a roommate by answering a series of fun “get-to-know-you” type questions. This seems to be a decent third option for today’s social media driven world.
Regardless how you decide to go about finding a roommate, it’s important to remember to communicate. There are some other important things to remember as well, so look for the next ResLife centered topic to find out more. Until then, wishing you the best!