Roommate 101: Finding the right fit

Choosing a roommate is a tricky business. At St. Kate’s, there are several ways that students can find roommates for on-campus housing: registering together, Roommate Finder and random assignment. Most first-years are concerned about what their relationship will be like with their roommate. Some want their roommate to just be a roommate and nothing more but most want a roommate who is also a friend.

Mirna Barahona ’18, in Rauenhorst on the healthy living themed floor, is one of those students. Barahona wanted a roommate who was not only a friend, but also like a sister.

Barahona was able to choose one of her three roommates. She was in Derham Hall dropping off financial aid paperwork when she met one of her future roommates, Jessie Nunez ‘18. Nunez and her family were lost and had asked Barahona to show them to the Admissions’ Office. After leading them there, Nunez’s mother asked Barahona if she would stay with them during the tour, followed by Nunez’s mother suggesting that her daughter and Barahona be roommates. That same day the group went up to Residence Life where Nunez and Barahona were registered to be roommates.

Over the summer Barahona spent a week at the Nunez’s. The two lived together, worked together at the family restaurant, and got to know one another.

“It just feels like the pieces of the puzzle is just finished. It just worked out so perfectly,” said Barahona as she reflected on also being able to room with Victoria Matter ‘18 and Monica Berlin ‘18.

In order to ensure it stays perfect throughout the year, the four roommates try to eat at least one meal a day together, since their schedules don’t match up. They also try to work out with each other at least once every two to three days.

“It’s actually really fun because you just look at each other and make silly faces while you’re just sweating and looking like a pig,” said Barahona.

The fit seemed to work out so perfectly that all four roommates decided to room together again next year, only this time in Morrison.

“I was hoping for a friend. I never had siblings so I hoped for a sister relationship with my roommates and I did get that,” Barahona said.

Not all students are as lucky as Barahona and her roommates. Helen Thompson 18’, lives in St. Mary’s and was hoping to have roommate that she could be friends with. Last spring she met her roommate online via Roommate Finder. They seemed to have a lot in common and in the first month of the school year they got along great.

“We seemed to have a lot in common,” said Thompson. “But one day in late October, we had a bit of a dispute.”

Several days later her roommate moved out.

“I was given a new randomly assigned roommate, and now whenever I see my old roommate it’s incredibly awkward,” Thompson said.

Her new roommate is just that, a roommate.

“It’s really uncomfortable, we have nothing in common. I wanted a roommate that I could study with, take classes together. But we don’t even hang out outside of the room.”

Thompson is optimistic that rooming with a friend next year will make things better.

There is another way to acquire a roommate: random assignment. Residence Life prompts students using a questionnaire inquiring information such as when you go to bed on the weekdays, if you smoke/would be willing to room with someone who does, what your study habits are, and if you are introverted or extroverted. These questions are important, but they aren’t completely fool-proof when it comes to matching up roommates.

Lexi Brown ’18, lives in St. Mary’s and was assigned a random roommate, whom she didn’t meet until the first day. Brown would go to bed earlier than her roommate. Her roommate wanted everything in its place, while Brown was fine with a little mess.

“It was awkward. We were not compatible at all,” said Brown when asked about her former roommate.“It just didn’t work out, to the point where we needed to be reassigned different roommates.”

Brown’s current roommate is a much better match. They hang out, eat together, and talk a lot about everything.

In contrast, Morgan Lewis ’18 and her roommate show that Residence Life can hit the mark. So well, in fact that Lewis and her roommate are talking about rooming together for the next three years.

Lewis and her roommate, Rhianna Baines ‘18 live in Caecilian in Gryffindor tower. Lewis and Baines hit it off right away when they met during room preview and then met up with a group of first years at the Mall of America.

“Right away people were asking us how long we had known each other,” said Lewis . “They were very surprised to hear we had only met that very day.”

They both, according to Lewis, have big personalities and are very loud.

“We have a lot of fun debates about books, movies, TV shows. We don’t really ever argue,” Lewis said. “If we do fight, it’s just because of a lack of communication.”

Picking a roommate is a tricky business, one can never really know how the relationship will work out. However, many college students, after the first year, tend to have a sense of the ideal roommate and hope that with this idea they can find the right roommate for the next year. For some lucky students though, they find their perfect fit from the start.

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