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Advise to son's roommate "to be" situation

Parent2920Parent2920 Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
edited September 2012 in Parents Forum
My son is about to start out in a university that is reputable, top 40 US News ranking, undergrad enrollment 25K, so fairly large. We live in a upper middle class neighborhood, his friends have always been social but serious about studying and DS has targeted clubs to participate in at Univ. He has been looking forward to the college experience and was looking forward to having a good dorm experience.

The roommate who he hasn't met yet (got assigned at the last minute) on his open facebook page (he did not put any privacy settings) says he open talks about smoking & enjoying weed, into tattoos and has notes how he gets drunk too.. Yet he seems to work hard (one comment like " you are driven young man") but I suspect he may be the first of his family to get into college. All of his roommate's friends are of the same ethnicity as himself, appears to have gotten in with a education opportunity program...

Obviously background does not seem compatible. Any proactive advise to give son as he embarks?
Post edited by Parent2920 on

Replies to: Advise to son's roommate "to be" situation

  • cromettecromette Registered User Posts: 2,614 Senior Member
    Ethnicity would not be an issue for me, not really sure why they would be for anyone. But the activities would be. I would request a change or make other arrangements for my kid.
  • PizzagirlPizzagirl Registered User Posts: 40,488 Senior Member
    Yes, clearly request he be transferred to room with another upper middle class kid. Certainly no upper middle class white kid has ever smoked pot in the history of college.

    Oh noes, a different ethnicity and social class!
  • PizzagirlPizzagirl Registered User Posts: 40,488 Senior Member
    Remind me again why it's concerning that your son room w someone of a different ethnicity with an "incompatible background" and yet it's also concerning that the roommate has friends all of the same ethnicity. Seems to me you have a double standard - your son needn't have diverse friendships but the roommate should.
  • cromettecromette Registered User Posts: 2,614 Senior Member
    @ Pizzagirl - LOL. Too funny.

    The only thing I would be concerned about would be the substances. Had an issue with my white, middle class D1 ;) As you've said - they are not somehow immune.

    I would try my best, in retrospect, to not knowingly compound such issues. It's not like it used to be when I grew up where charges for these offenses got you a slap on the wrist and a trip in a cop car home to your parents. This stuff follows you, ruins scholarships, ruins careers, ruins lives. You'd be surprised the far reaching implications for even a paraphanalia charge - which you could actually get if your ROOM-MATE has something, you know about it, and don't report it. Just saying.
  • vlinesvlines Registered User Posts: 3,579 Senior Member
    If it were me, the advice I would give your son is exactly the same advice I gave mine without knowing anything about the roommates habits/background.

    Set up a roommate agreement, and include in the agreement your expectations on illegal substances in the room. Respect your roommates differences, and know that you do not have to be friends, but you have to find ways to co-habitate.

    The roomates socioeconomic background should be irrelevant. Your suspicions of first gen, and education opportunity programs are just that, suspicions and assumptions.
  • Youdon'tsayYoudon'tsay Registered User Posts: 19,052 Senior Member
    Wow. I find this post so offensive that I'll leave it now. Hope this is a ****.
  • cromettecromette Registered User Posts: 2,614 Senior Member
    @ Youdon'tsay - It's almost too awful to be true, isn't it? Almost has to be a ****.
  • umdclassof80umdclassof80 Registered User Posts: 372 Member
    You've got to be kidding!

    Didn't you realize that there were going to be kids from different ethniticies, religions, social classes, etc at such a large university? If not, you should have considered that. I'm assuming that you are white (as I am). I'm sure there are colleges that primarily cater to white upper middle class students. Perhaps your son should consider transferring to one of those schools.

    We live in a very diverse community in the 3rd wealthiest county in the US. The local university our D attends is also considered to be one of the most diverse in the country. She embraces the diversity and has many friends of various ethniticies.
  • ConsolationConsolation Registered User Posts: 21,713 Senior Member
    I'd say obviously not a ****.

    I'd advise my S to keep an open mind, be friendly and non-judgmental, and assume good intentions as he meets a variety of new people with different life experiences at college. Not to assume that he is "normal" and everyone else is "diverse." :) Also to try to have a talk about roomie ground rules: substances, hours, guests, and all of the other stuff that commonly causes conflict. (Although frankly I doubt that most guys do so.)
  • Parent2920Parent2920 Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Nope not a **** .. but will say, the ethnicity is not an issue (or didn't intend it to sound that way) more potential substance abuse and disruption around that... what was rather surprising was how open the roommate was about using weed on a public facebook page (but maybe that's normal these days)..

    I agree diversity is actually good and helps growth, as long as it doesn't become disruptive. The point around room mate agreement .. and they do get into that at the univ..

  • TatinGTatinG Registered User Posts: 5,489 Senior Member
    Regarding the weed and alcohol:

    1. It may just have been Facebook bragging.

    2. If your son sees any of that in his room, turn the roommate in to the RA. Some colleges have rules that penalize students for NOT turning in drug or alcohol use.
  • cromettecromette Registered User Posts: 2,614 Senior Member
    Well, if this post IS for real - please evaluate what you presented:

    "I suspect he may be the first of his family to get into college. All of his roommate's friends are of the same ethnicity as himself, appears to have gotten in with a education opportunity program..."

    Wow. So what exactly makes you assume he's the first to get into college? Why is his ethnicity and that of his friends a concern? And what makes you think, especially if he is "driven", that he got in with an education opportunity program? Why do you assume that he had poor or even mediocre grades and/or has not worked his butt off to save for college, and actually get there?

    And tatoos and such are actually extremely common nowdays.

    As stated before, I might have concern about the OPEN flaunting of substance use, but the rest? For heaven's sake - kind of...well....bigoted and judgmental, don't you think?
  • ConsolationConsolation Registered User Posts: 21,713 Senior Member
    Please, if your son sees weed/alcohol around the room, suggest that he TALK TO THE ROOMMATE FIRST. Don't run to rat him out to the RA. If the roommate refuses to cooperate, your S should TELL him that in that case he's sorry but he will be forced to go to the RA for self-protection. If the roomie still won't budge, then do it.
  • sseamomsseamom Registered User Posts: 4,879 Senior Member
    Sadly, I bet it's not a ****. My family lives in a very diverse area of Seattle and my white D attended a diverse HS, has friends of several other ethnicities, some of whom WERE the first to complete HS and go on to college. This bothered my ex a great deal, and used D's Facebook to "prove" that her friends were "tough" and had "different values". She was over 18 when he decided to stalk her and her friends on FB. His actual words at one point were, "You need to find more friends who look like you." This was offensive on so many levels since I am now married to a person of color and have a D with him.

    I agree with the advice about talking things out with the roommate about substance use-but keep in mind regulations are different in different states. In Seattle, pot use is considered "lowest priority" offense, while in other states it's vigorously prosecuted. It may be that this kid grew up somewhere that it's just not a big deal. He'll need to realize it's just not like that everywhere and respect his roommate's concerns.

    As for the OP-well, it's too bad you're so closed minded. Hope your S has a better outlook.
  • sseamomsseamom Registered User Posts: 4,879 Senior Member
    BTW-it's attitudes like this-assuming that a kid of color is the first to attend college, that he got in under a "opportunity program" and so on is the exact reason my youngest is considering only HBCU's. She's already tired of having white people assume she doesn't belong in challenging classes, or will need extra help, or worse, not capable in the first place. And she's only in 8th grade. Thank goodness we finally found a school where none of that nonsense goes on. But the damage has been done.
This discussion has been closed.