Random Roommate mess: Residence Life has work to do
By RACHEL FINSTON
The “random roommate” system is intrinsically flawed, simply by being random. We all know that sharing a room with someone is a big deal. Everyone is different, and it does not make a lot of sense to put strangers in a room together based on no information.
The random roommate system, as far as I know, is in effect because Residence Life doesn’t want to take the time to match people based on preferences.
When filling out the roommate profile, I selected my sleep schedule, noise level and room cleanliness specifications. Yet, when I have been randomly assigned roommates or suitemates, none of them matched up. I have had multiple roommates who appear to be nocturnal, which would be fine if I didn’t have things to do during the day, or if they were heavy sleepers.
Residence Life knows our preferences, but for some reason sees no reason to take them into account. My relationships with roommates would have been less tense if we had the same sleeping schedule, or the same opinions on what behaviors were appropriate in the room.
In a frankly ironic example, I, along with the person who lives across the hall were both assigned new roommates for the spring semester. A quick aside, I was not notified about this at all. No email, nothing.
I go to bed early and wake up around 8 a.m. I eat meals on campus and I like to do homework in the room. The girl across the hall keeps a different schedule. She stays up late and eats in the room. There are a lot of other little differences between us that might not be relevant to everyone, like how she does her makeup in the bathroom and I don’t, or that she doesn’t use headphones, while I do.
I was assigned a roommate who does the opposite of everything I do, and the girl across the hall found herself in the same situation. It’s pretty clear to me that if anyone had looked twice at our roommate profiles, the roommate assignments would have been reversed.
I have found that the number one cause of conflict in roommate relationships is differences in schedule or room space sharing. A reasonable conclusion to draw, then, would be that people should be paired based on what qualities they desire in a roommate, such as quietness, cleanliness and noise level, rather than being assigned to a random room based on nothing. If people were assigned based on facts, maybe there would be less conflict, and it would save RAs and Residence Life the time of refereeing arguments and separating incompatible roommates.
I have always prioritized my housing based on the building I want to live in, rather than living with friends. This is simply because different buildings satisfy my needs than meet theirs, and I trusted Residence Life to place me with someone who I could reason with.
Some students just don’t have friends who want to live in the same building as them, and that doesn’t mean that they should be assigned a roommate with whom they cannot get along. It seems obvious to me that, considering how many roommate disputes occur even between friends, the random roommate system should be thrown out, in favor of a roommate matching system that pairs people based on similarities in schedule and room preferences. I know I would be willing to take a little time out of my schedule each year to read a few profiles and ensure a cordial living situation for my roommate and myself.