Leaving home and embarking on a four-year journey into your future is tough, and many people are housed with people they have never met: random roommates.
It is difficult to leave the comfort of your home, where you have an established routine, a comfortable bed and nearby loved ones. Moving into a dorm means sacrificing these things for a small living space and less privacy.
Colleges try to match you with people based off a small survey with questions about cleanliness, noise volume and other personal preferences. Even then, you are not guaranteed to be matched with people like yourself.
Helping students find the best roommate option before moving into their dorms is something UCA could improve. Many people end up with messy, confrontational, loud (among other traits) roommates who drive them to the edge of insanity. It makes it difficult to study for classes, sleep or relax before continuing on with their full day of classes.
It is not uncommon for assigned roommates to negatively affect the people they share rooms with. Whether it be drugs, alcohol, partying or general attitudes, many students face this influence when arriving at college.
Because of the negative effects a roommate can have on other inhabitants, many colleges are changing the way they assign their students to housing. Some colleges are now implementing apps such as Roomsync, which lets students find others seeking roommates and get to know them first, sort of like an online dating site.
Southern Illinois University, a school that uses the app, said their research has shown that students who chose their roommates with the app were “significantly more successful in college and had a better overall college experience.”
UCA should consider implementing a similar app for incoming freshmen and, hopefully, alleviate some firstsemester stress. After all, random roommates can be tough to handle. Choosing to be assigned a random roommate is risky because every person is different.
We all come from different backgrounds, cultures, religions, social norms, etc. It is great that some colleges let students choose who they room with, for their own benefits in and out of the classroom.
“Your college roommate isn’t someone you just share a fridge with – roomies can have a big impact on your academic achievement, health and social attitudes,” CollegeChoice.net, an informative website for future college students, says.
Not all random roommates are bad, though. Sometimes, people meet their best friends through this random selection. The process also allows students to grow and learn things about people who are different from them.
“There are lessons learned about love, rivalry and friendship. You learn to negotiate. You learn to move your own boundaries. And for every horror story, there is a tale of best friends overcoming odds,” Jessica Bennett, a New York Times writer, said.
There are many pros and cons to having a random roommate. You may hate them and dread returning to your room every day, but you may also meet a best friend who will stick with you for the rest of your life. It is a strike of luck to be matched with someone who you instantly click with.
However, many students would appreciate the chance to have a better idea of who they’ll be living with before moving in.
This article originally appeared in the Nov. 11, 2015 print edition of The Echo.
image via community.sparknotes.com