Roommate Ramblings: Which One Will You Get?

When I was in university, my roommate became totally obsessed with me. She was jealous, needy, tried to look like me, and I’m pretty sure she sat up and watched me sleep. After she tried to kill my boyfriend, I decided it was time to move out. Oh, wait! That was a movie I saw, called The Roommate. The movie’s catch phrase: 2000 Colleges. 8 Million Roommates. Which One Will You Get.

Ok, you aren’t likely to end up with a totally insane roommate who wants to become you, but you might end up with a roommate who makes you feel like going insane.

I don’t think anyone should share a room beyond the age of 7, but every year thousands of university or college students are randomly shacked up together, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse.

When I was in my first year of university, I was able to live with one of my best friends from high school. We were the only roommates on the floor who lived together again the next year. Some pairs ended up absolutely hating each other (screaming matches and all). I had friends whose roommates would spew all over their shared floor, roommates who hadn’t yet discovered that their residence hall did have showers, roommates with boyfriends, roommates who stole, roommates constantly homesick; the list goes on.

Transitioning from home to school isn’t easy to do.  Living in the same room as a total stranger doesn’t always help.  Living in close quarters offers the chance to make great friends, but also the chance to quickly learn about your new roommate’s annoying quarks or irritating stench.

A Match Made In Cyberspace

Many universities now use a computer software program to match roommates based on their potential compatibility.  An often used program, StarRez, asks students questions to cover sleeping habits, study habits and more abstract areas like politics and outside interests. Students can then go online to pick their room, view profiles, message potential roommates and request roommates. Sounds just like online dating!

Although matching interests and work/sleep/study habits is a step in the right dorm room, new university and college students are very likely to change their habits and interests, especially in their first year of school.  I reguarly didn’t sleep until 4am when I lived in residence, but probably would have called myself an early sleeper before I started university.

Friend Making 101

No matter who you end up living with, psychologists say that you have the power to make the relationship work.

According to a study funded by the National Institution of Health, in order to reduce lonliness and build a positive roommate relationship it is important to avoid an ‘ego-system’ approach (focusing on your own needs) and move towards an ‘eco-system’ approach (caring and compassion for others). My mother could have told me that!

When I was in my 2nd, 3rd and 4th year of university, my roommates were my closest friends.  When I lived in a residence type building in Whistler, B.C., I was friendly with my roommates but we didn’t ever go out together. Both scenarios worked well for me and I was lucky enough to experience roommate bliss for most of my roommate years.

My final advice: pack earplugs, headphones, your favourite pillow and a positive, ‘eco-system’ attitude and you too will be on your way to roommate bliss.

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  1. Dan
    Posted June 11, 2011 at 3:52 am | Permalink

    Ha nice post nix:) I hope I extended an Ec
    o-system approach 2 u!

  2. Beryl V.
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoy your writing Nicole. A great read.

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