Surviving random roommates

Daniel Miller, Staff Reporter

There is plenty to be concerned about when starting a new year in college. Whether it is your freshman or senior year, random roommates can be one of many sources of stress.

Living with someone you have never met for a year can be a major commitment. For some, it can dampen a college career. On the other hand, things could work out.

Former University of Wisconsin-Whitewater student Mary Schroettner found a lifelong friend in her random roommate. Despite Schroettner graduating last semester and her old roommate being in graduate school, they still regularly meet up.

“In the beginning, it was a little awkward at first since we were two complete strangers living together,” said Schroettner. “We respected each other but were definitely hesitant about our opinions and how they would be received.”

Over time, Schroettner and her roommate became better friends. Schroettner attributes this to honesty and their respect for each other’s boundaries and habits.

Resident Assistant (RA) Melissa Ferguson, a senior at UW-Whitewater, has seen the full spectrum of random roommates over her two years as an RA. She also believes mutual respect and honesty have a big impact on the outcome of random roommate scenarios.

“You have to be completely honest about your lifestyle and how you want things to run,” said Ferguson. “You have to live with them, but you don’t have to be best friends.”

According to Ferguson, disputes between random roommates are common. Most of them stem from a lack of communication.

Ferguson was placed with a random roommate her freshman year, and still considers her old roommate a close friend.

However, some random roommate situations do not end with lifelong friends. UW-W senior Brad Krc had a random roommate his freshman year. While they are not close friends anymore, Krc believes his experience was still positive.

“We had quite a bit in common actually,” Krc said. “We both did the personality test online and had similar answers.”

According to University Housing, the “personality test” is made up of information that students submit in their profile with their housing contract. Roommates are then assigned based on this information.

Krc believes the personality test was very helpful in matching him with a roommate that has similar interests. Most of his high school teachers recommended finding a random roommate.

“My teachers said it would help you branch out in college,” said Krc. “While I don’t keep in touch anymore [with my roommate], we left on good terms… and always catch up when we see each other.”

While some conflicts with random roommates may be unavoidable, Ferguson believes students should not be worried about living with a random roommate.

“Give it a chance,” said Ferguson. “It’s a part of life. You’re going to meet some people you don’t like, and you’ll need to make the best of it.”

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