Going in knowing everything about the other person- their music tastes, eating habits, hobbies, and favorite causes- sometimes sounds like a good idea. You think you’ll have so much in common with someone. Someone you’re about to have a serious relationship with, one that could potentially last a lifetime. But what happens if you decide you don’t like them? What’s left to learn at that point? What if you get bored? What if they secretly love the Jonas Brothers?
No, I’m not talking about how Facebook is actively ruining the dating world. I’m referring to all the potholes you’ll encounter by selecting your own college roommate.
Trending on campuses all over the country are websites that allow you to cherry pick the “perfect” roommate. Gone are the days where the punky goth ends up living with the preppy, bubbly cheerleader. No longer will the study bug bunk with the party animal. The revolution is upon us, and now you can select your own freshman fate.
Think answering a questionnaire and having your personality matched with another’s sounds great? Well, to me it sounds as accurate as an “Are You Robert Pattinson’s Soul Mate?” quiz pulled from the pages of Teen Beat. Here are all the things you’re going to be doing for yourself simply by going rando:
Diversifying your day-to-day.
Yeah, I said it. If you live with your friends, or even someone who’s got similar tastes, you miss out on the whole “getting to know you” experience. Finding out that your roomie likes to wake up at 5 a.m. for a little Incan meditation and chanting, or sharing your fear of avocados with a girl who loves making guacamole on her desk- these are the situations that help you learn two very important life lessons: not everyone is you and not everyone gets along all the time.
Learning to communicate
Okay, so you were star of the debate team and aspire to be a presidential speechwriter. Congratulations. Still doesn’t mean you know how to navigate real-life sticky situations with flexibility and kindness. You’re in luck, however, because rooming with your complete opposite is the perfect place to learn such skills. While Ms. Avocado is slicing and dicing on her chem book, you could a) throw a fit and have a panic attack or b) politely explain that you’ve got an aversion to the gooey green and request that in the future she Bobbly Flay elsewhere. Communication’s not hard, but you never would have learned had you roomed with your salsa-only BFF.
Acknowledging that just because you both love Full House doesn’t mean you’ll love each other.
You know that phrase “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”? Yeah, that applies here. I’ve seen it firsthand. Girls meeting at orientation or finding each other on Facebook- Ohmigod your favorite crayon is Purple Mountain’s Majesty and you want to marry John Stamos, too!? Five minutes later, they’re instant roommates and friends for life. Or so they think. Introduce boys, booze, and a little study time…by Thanksgiving they’ll be applying for a dorm switch.
Discovering things about yourself.
Pretty much everyone goes into college thinking three things about themselves. First, that they’re moderately clean people. Second, that they’re not that whorey. And third, that they’re totally laid back. But guess what? You’re a slob, you’re absolutely a whore on weekends, and you’re uptight at least three other nights a week. You’re not always the person you think you are, so going in with preconceived notions of how you’ll work with a particular roommate could become irrelevant once you’re actually living with one another.
Just like you think you’re going to have to deal with some stranger’s crap, they’re going to have to deal with yours. And you might surprise yourself in finding that your crap’s the same. It goes beyond the basics, too. Sharing a DVD collection, finding out about new music, mixing with a different crowd…that’s what college is about. Exploring the outer limits of your comfort zone and maybe making some new friends in the process.
Agree? Disagree? Make your voice heard by voting in this poll!