The Roommate Debate: Why Random is Better Than Requested

by The Cowl Editor on September 20, 2018


Two girls hugging.
Randomly assigned roommates often become good friends and choose to live together even after their freshman year. Photo courtesy of Brianna Coletti ’21/The Cowl.

by Julia McCoy ’22

Opinion Staff

Immediately after being accepted to Providence College, incoming freshmen are placed into a Facebook group with their new classmates.

Among the obligatory orientation information and administrative news are short biographies posted by accepted students to try and attract a roommate.

In these biographies, students are compelled to write where they are from, their major, and a few activities they are interested in. Most incoming freshmen also include a few photos or a link to their Instagram profile.

The purpose of these posts is to make connections via social media before the school year starts. More often than not, students who are posting on the Facebook page are also looking for potential roommates to interact with and choose from.

Some students would rather know who their roommate is before the school year starts, as opposed to going random and finding out in early August who they will be spending the year with.

There are obvious benefits to choosing a roommate; if you connect with someone early, you could have an automatic friend going into the school year.

Knowing the person you are living with can take a bit of pressure off of an already anxious incoming freshman, and can ease the transition process immensely.

However, it is truly difficult to encompass all of your likes and dislikes in one short Facebook post. Most students opt to post a vague self-description and try not to go into too much detail about their lifestyle or daily habits.

Scrolling through the page, there seems to be a pattern of commonly used phrases such as “I like to go out sometimes but enjoy a night in,” and “I like hanging out with friends, watching Netflix, and going out.”

Sure, these are great things to have in common with someone, but how do you know when they tend to go to sleep or if they prefer to have people in the room or not?

On the other side of the spectrum, PC offers an effective and specific rooming survey that should be completed by anyone choosing to have a random roommate assignment.

These surveys are used as a way to compare students’ habits and interests and ultimately, they result in a roommate that best matches your personality.

In terms of thoroughness and attention to detail, the College’s roommate matching system seems to have a very effective system.

However, through detailed conversations and more in depth questions about living habits, it seems possible that a roommate from Facebook could be just as successful as one from the survey.

Upperclassmen have given mixed reviews as to how their first-year roommate situations ended up. While some are still best friends and possibly visiting each other while abroad, others barely see each other on campus anymore. This proves that you do not have to stay best friends with your roommate, and you will find other friends if you want to.

It is also important to remember that your roommate is not the only person you should be connecting with during your first weeks here.

Sure, you will be living with them, but forcing a friendship where one would not naturally occur will result in issues later on in the year.

Being able to branch out while ultimately knowing that you have someone to rely on is also a fairly good idea.

What is most important to remember is that all friendships should come naturally, and if that is the case with your roommate, then you are lucky and now get to live with one of your best friends.

Whichever type of housing situation you find yourself in, make the most of it. You are going to be living with this person for the next year, at least.