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Do you think it's better for kids to dorm with a friend or stranger the first year?

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Replies to: Do you think it's better for kids to dorm with a friend or stranger the first year?

  • HImomHImom 34320 replies391 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I lived with random strangers in college. It was OK but I did not become lifetime best buddies with any of them. D and S roomed with random strangers for 1st year and then friends for the rest of college. The actually preferred living with friends and remain friends with their former room mates. Either way can work, as long as there are clear, mutual understandings and expectations. Living with someone you have never met before can be interesting and expose you to some new and interesting experiences. I have no regrets and my kids haven't expressed any either for having met new people as room mates.
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  • LakemomLakemom 2943 replies68 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    My son roomed with an international student his first year and they did not bond. Not enemies but not friends. The result of rooming with someone you are not close to is that is pushes you to reach out and meet other kids, which he did and met the students he is the closest with now 2 years later.

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  • prospect1prospect1 1391 replies41 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I should add that the only true horror stories I have ever heard have involved rooming with strangers - to the point where kids have actually left the college they were so unhappy. I am certain that these are extreme cases, but it strikes me that a bad situation with a stranger might be worse than a bad situation with someone you at least know, and whose families possibly know each other as well.
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  • MichiganGeorgiaMichiganGeorgia 4389 replies85 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    ^ well I could tell you one since I roomed with one of my best friends from high school. Actually we had been best friends since elementary school.. lets just say that it didn't work out...at all. she moved out after first semester and we didn't speak for over 20 years. One problem we had was that she had a long time boyfriend and he stayed over every night and there were 4 of us girls in 1 bedroom.. Imagine having to share a dormroom with 4 girls and a guy wandering around in his underwear for a whole semester. ugh. anyway OP if you do decide to room with your friend I would make sure you have talked about the sleep over and partying rules before you sign up to room together.

    BTW they did eventually break up and she married someone else.
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  • prospect1prospect1 1391 replies41 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    ^^^^^ Yes that's bad...at least SHE's the one who left...
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  • FallGirlFallGirl 8045 replies27 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    The worst roommate stories I heard were from people who roomed with HS friends.

    When D and her BFF both had a certain college on their lists, I told D that if they both ended up there I did not want them to room together. I love her friend but was afraid that too much togetherness might lead to ending a wonderful long time friendship. She agreed. (they ended up at different schools ).
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  • JustOneDadJustOneDad 5726 replies119 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    prospect1 wrote:
    to the point where kids have actually left the college they were so unhappy
    Wouldn't have asking for a room change have been a workable solution?
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  • ConsolationConsolation 22875 replies184 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I tend to agree with your grandmother. Neither I nor any of my family members attended colleges that let you pick your roommate freshman year, so it isn't something I'm familiar with. I've heard stories about kids picking their roommates out in advance and it not working out, big time. I've also heard bad things about schools where everyone clings to their HS friends, goes home on the wekends, and so forth. To me, a significant part of the college experience is meeting different people from different backgrounds from different places. Generally, I would think that the best thing would be to have a roommate whose general habits match yours in terms of lights out, messiness, etc, and to have low expectations. Treat it like a business relationship, don't expect the person to be your BFF. Having an old friend in the dorm or on the floor might be nice.

    On the other hand, you sound as if you are aware of the pitfalls and are prepared to deal with them. Just make sure that the two of you talk things over and make an agreement about things like guests, lights out, and so on before committing. You might find out that although you like each other and want to hang out, you don't really want to live together.

    You also need to be more respectful of your grandmother.
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  • SouthernHopeSouthernHope 2065 replies209 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    i totally see where your grandmother is coming from...and she sounds smart.

    that said, I also think your logic is good..you've laid it out well.

    So I really don't have an answer :) just wanted you to know that sound like you will do well in life!
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  • prospect1prospect1 1391 replies41 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    JustOneDad, you would think so, and yet It seems that asking for roommate changes isn't always granted and/or involves a difficult, drawn out process. But then, I've never stuck my nose that deep into these stories, so who knows.
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  • MarianMarian 13200 replies83 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    It seems that asking for roommate changes isn't always granted and/or involves a difficult, drawn out process

    Only if you make the college do the work.

    When my son was a freshman, he was involved in a roommate swap. Thirtysomething years earlier, so was I. In both cases, the swaps were planned in advance by the people involved, who then took the plan to the RA. There was no objection. Why would there be?
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  • KnoxpatchKnoxpatch 343 replies8 threadsRegistered User Member
    Bird in hand. I would have said go random before my Ds went to college. After my DD1's experience, not so much. It involved campus police. You've got a good plan but as others have said, make sure you both are on the same page with the rules of the room.
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  • saintfansaintfan 8182 replies92 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    My sister had 2 successive bad roommates in college. She ended up moving back home and commuting after the 2nd. Her DH, who she met in her freshman dorm, roomed with a HS friend who he knew and liked but wasn't a bestie. They were in each other's weddings and are still very close. My sister's best female friends who she met her freshman year were friends rooming together.
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  • EarlVanDornEarlVanDorn 1197 replies87 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @Marian Some colleges make it almost impossible to change roommates. It has nothing to do with the "work," but rather that they have decided in a very nannyish way that students should be forced to work out their differences, regardless of how miserable they are.

    Some colleges don't even allow students to select their own roommate, at least for their freshman year. A few of these are elite schools that can have any rules they want. Otherwise, I would discourage my children from attending a school that didn't allow roommate selection.
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  • jpm50jpm50 1245 replies25 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Room with your HS friend if you thrive on familiarity and security.
    Room with someone you don't know if you view college as a vehicle to get you out of your comfort zone and expand your horizons.

    I wholeheartedly endorse the latter.
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