Having a roommate in college can be a really great experience, but not for some. My first year at West Chester I watched a lot of students connect well with their roommates, being the first person one meets on campus, roommates would walk around campus together. Roommates meet each others friends, and then sometime into the semester it seems that students will settle with a couple groups of friends. I talked to some of my friends that are new to school this year about how college life is going for them. We talked about everything from classes, to extra curricular activities to roommates. For the most part, no one had a compliant, which is great to hear.
Not everyone I talked to had the best news to share. It seemed that a few of my friends were having trouble with their roommates, which was also an issue for me too in my first year. I had gone through the process of “detripling” from a standard double room. This meant that I lived in a room with two other girls in a room meant for two people, and the only other difference was that we had an extra bed. That year there seemed to be a lot of triples in double rooms that involved the same process as mine.
It’s hard for students to adjust to college living to begin with, and trying to meet new people and making friends on top of that can be a part of the college life and its challenge. My friends and I discussed how we saw people being attached to their roommates in the beginning of the year as they made their own friends too. We felt we didn’t have that luxury of the roommate that you got along with right away, but we were able to go out and meet new people and become friends, just like anyone else.
This year one of my friends was thinking of changing rooms and she talked to me about it. I told her about my moving process and we realized how the system has changed as far as moving into a different room and getting a new roommate.
When I was looking for a room to move into, I was able to go around and meet the girls that occupied one half of the room, with the other half open. It was nice to meet the residents before deciding where I wanted to live, because I was able to choose who I would be most compatible to live with.
It seems that this year, students who want to change rooms may be placed into an open room from their current room. This does not make any sense. What if they cannot get along with the new roommate? Either party, the new roommate or the resident that was already in the particular room, might have conflicting issues. This was one of my first thoughts when I heard about this change in the process. What if students get placed into a room with a new roommate and the two of them have bigger problems than the first pair?
Another problem with this different way of doing roommate changes would be that the person who lives in the room by themselves, until the new person comes, does not get any notice that they have been given a roommate who will be moving in at some point. Maybe this has been the way and Resident Directors (RDs) do not have to give residents any notice. When I went through my moving process, my RD and I both told the resident that I would be moving in. I was fortune enough to meet her and talk to her about what if we lived together. Nothing was set in stone when we first meet, but I liked that I had an opportunity to meet residents and decide where to live.
I could not image what the process is of changing rooms. Residents were told that if they wanted a room change, applications were due by a deadline and any application after that would be invalid. I took this as a motivation for residents to get their applications in to their resident halls in a timely manner. When I told my friend, who was considering moving out, she said she was told that late applications would not be accepted. I for one really hope that this is all hear-say.
When I went through my move out process, I found a place that I wanted to live at and moved in to that room by the start of October. This year, room change applications were due mid September. Later on in my first-year, during the Spring semester, I met a friend when she moved from her residence hall to mine. The Spring semester. She was able to move during the second half of the year. Would students this year really not be allowed to switch rooms if they wanted to? Students who get along with their roommates now, say something happens and they decide that they should no longer live together, is it now too late for them to change rooms? Even if there are rooms still open?
I got along with my new roommate when I changed rooms. The following year I roomed with someone that I met in my hall and I still talk to her. This year I have a different roommate, a friend of mine from last year. These are people that I plan on keeping a friendship with and now I can say that my friend was my roommate in college. Before coming to college I heard all these wonderful stories and some horror stories about having a roommate. Each experience has lead to another college experience, and I can walk away with my stories, and I hope that others can say how their friends were their roommate from college. It’s great when people meet new people and stay friends out of school.
Ginger Rae Dunbar is a third-year student majoring in English with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at RD655287@wcupa.edu.