Confessions of an RA: What Should You Look for in a Roommate?
A couple of posts back, amaryllismoon posed the questions: “How do you choose a roommate? What criteria should I be looking for?”
The answer to this question varies from school to school. For example, I was not able to choose my freshman year roommate. At my college, Housing distributes a three-question survey about smoking/sleeping/studying habits to all incoming freshmen. I’m not convinced they actually use those surveys, however, as I have two Anas living together on my floor, an Anne and an Annie who are neighbors, and two boys named Mario and Luigi who were supposedly a random match. Coincidence? More like conspiracy.
If your university takes the random lottery route, there’s not much you can do besides pray the housing god has mercy on your poor college-bound soul and refrains from matching you with some strange specimen of humanity that inspects the contents of his used Kleenex underneath a microscope.
If you do have a choice in the matter, look for a roommate who is easygoing, courteous, and very, very wealthy.
The truth is, you and your roommate do not need to have the same interest in music, friends, hobbies, school subjects, or (most importantly) books/authors. In fact, all you need to be able to do is respect each other. An easygoing, courteous person will respect your desire to go to bed earlier than him, won’t blast his music while you’re trying to memorize your irregular Latin verbs, and will shut the door quietly when he comes in late. These all seem like things any decent person would do for another, but you’d be surprised how many people in this world have zero ability to think of anyone other than themselves.
So how can you tell if a person is easygoing/courteous? It’s hard to pin down good character without ever actually meeting someone, but I’d say a person is probably courteous if he appears friendly, and easygoing if he seems flexible (metaphorically speaking—not flexible in the sense that he can tuck his legs behind his head). For example, if I was facebook stalking potential roommates and saw that one had published her daily schedule on her wall and it was marked by 15 minute intervals and items like “start paper due in 2013,” I might quietly file her away in the “No” drawer. If I saw that my potential roommate’s bestie left a message on her wall that said, “Sorry I had to bail on our lunch date, girl! Things are so hectic right now!” and my potential responded, “No worries! Let’s plan for sometime next week!” I would put her on my “Consider” list.
It’s hard to know what to look for in a roommate, and even harder to tell a person’s true personality from facebook. Just remember while you’re on the roommate prowl that no roommate is permanent, and that frankly, finding the perfect roommate should be the least of your college concerns. Stop stressing about roommates and start working on finding a way out of those 8 am classes!
Did you try to find the perfect roommate? Did your school give you a choice?
Related post: Confessions of an RA: Problems with Your BFF