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

Melissa1918Melissa1918 31 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 43 Junior Member
My grandmother is my legal guardian. I was talking to her about my plans to dorm with one of my high school friends and she told me no absolutely not, that's the last thing I need. Room with someone you don't know, get away from the people you know. College is about meeting new people. The thing is, I'm from PA and my dream has always been to go to Fordham in NYC, so naturally I thought I'd be with a stranger - in a new city, all on my own. It was thrilling and I was feeling up to the challenge and excited. But, now as a senior, I realize how astronomically expensive Fordham is and unless I get the Gates Scholarship, I won't be able to go. I'm going to Temple and I know a lot of people who are also going. It's a great public school, ranked 2nd in the state for my desired major. I am still very upset about not going to school in New York but I have plans to move there after college and look for internships there in the summer. I also filled out scholarships that have work study programs in NYC during the summer. Talking with my friend about Temple is what made me really excited to go there. We're a lot alike, we think similar thoughts on a lot of things. We're both into health & fitness so we can keep each other on track, not to gain the freshman 15. I'll have someone that will want to go to the gym with me, someone who can make me laugh all the time. But, she's also someone who has her own boyfriend, her own friends, who will give me space and not smother me. I'm also studying Journalism & Pol Sci, she's looking at options in the medical field. So, it's not like we'll be with each other every second. I want to get involved in campus clubs. I also plan on partying a little, like a normal college student. It's a huge campus with 30,000 students and I'm really outgoing and social. I'm sure I'll make plenty of friends and meet plenty of new people. But I love the idea that if I'm having a bad day or something, adjusting to a new city, living on my own for the first time, I can go back to our dorm and get a hug and talk to someone I've known for 4 years. I don't need her as a social crutch, that's not what I want. She's just someone I'd love to be around. And considering the fact that my grandmother has no money for my college education and I'll be paying for anything not covered my scholarships/loans by myself, I don't see how as a legal adult who is paying for room and board how she expects to tell me who I can and can not live with. She has never been to college, neither have her children, or any of her other grandchildren. What does she know about college?
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Replies to: Do you think it's better for kids to dorm with a friend or stranger the first year?

  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 21932 replies14 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 21,946 Senior Member
    Many high school students decide to room with friends. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Two of my good friends from high school (who had been BFFs all through school) did, and it was fine for freshman year but later there was a huge blow up because of boyfriends and they never spoke again. Very difficult for everyone. My niece roomed with her friend from high school at an OOS school, and it worked. My daughter has a randomly assigned roommate and absolutely loves her.

    You need to decide if you can work out problems. If she has a boyfriend, can you stand up to her if he's over too much? Can you work out disagreements, lights on or off, music?
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  • JustOneDadJustOneDad 5726 replies119 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,845 Senior Member
    Whatever will you do without roommate horror stories to share with coworkers in the future?
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  • dustypigdustypig 910 replies17 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 927 Member
    I don't think your grandmother can legally prevent you from making your own roommate choices.

    I also don't think that whether you room with your friend or not is likely to have a big effect on your freshman year, barring a situation where you suddenly realize that although you love your friend, you can't live with her -- so make sure one of you is not significantly messier than the other, that she's not a nightowl while you're an early riser, etc.

    If you're sure the two of you have compatible living preferences, it's probably safer to room with a known quantity than with a random stranger.

    What your grandmother is probably worried about is that you'll spend all your time hanging out with this friend and you'll never make any other friends. My feeling about that is that, if you're the kind of person who would do that, you'd do it regardless of whether you roomed with your friend or just attended the same school. And if you're the kind of person who makes new friends easily, you'll do that whether you room with her or not.

    Maybe you can reassure her that you don't intend to spend all your time hanging out with your friend -- that you definitely hope to meet new people and make new friends, and you're sure your friend will too. If you recognize her worry and show that you aren't just dismissing her, she might stop pestering you about it.
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  • prospect1prospect1 1391 replies41 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,432 Senior Member
    Speaking solely from my own experience, I can relate only positive experiences with rooming with friends. I roomed with my best friend from high school for all four years of college. We were in no way isolated; we met scores, even hundreds, of people during our college years and in fact ended up in a house rooming with many additional people by our senior year.

    My oldest son roomed with one of his oldest friends; they are still rooming together today and also have expanded their circle of friends immeasurably.

    As I think about it, it would actually be very hard NOT to meet new people in college. This is not the issue. A more likely problem could be, as the above poster noted, the two friends fighting over something and ruining their friendship. This has not happened to anyone I know personally, but I suppose it could happen.

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  • Madison85Madison85 10290 replies407 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 10,697 Senior Member
    edited December 2014
    Room with your friend. In hindsight, it would have been better if my kids had roomed with a high school friend instead of a rando.
    edited December 2014
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  • stradmomstradmom 4935 replies50 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,985 Senior Member
    Wow, lots of anger towards grandmother for having an opinion that differs from your own. You might want to look into what's behind that as you make your rooming decision.
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  • BeeDAreBeeDAre 1153 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,165 Senior Member
    edited December 2014
    Room with your friend. But, yes, make sure you both know what to expect of each other re: cleanliness, messiness, bedtime hours, etc. Talk to each other. But you should do that with any prospective roommate.

    Your grandmother probably means well and just wants to be helpful, and wants the best for you. But, you are right, she has never been to college, so she may not understand that rooming with your friend may make the transition to this phase of your life smoother and less stressful.

    My daughter, a hs junior, is thinking of applying to Temple, btw. Please check back occasionally and tell us how you like it there.
    edited December 2014
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  • gouf78gouf78 7742 replies23 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 7,765 Senior Member
    I'd room with the friend if you think compatible. Better to know going in. You'll meet tons of people--maybe easier because you'll run in different circles and introduce new friends to each other.
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  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys 16613 replies66 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 16,679 Senior Member
    Agree with gouf, I had one who roomed with a good friend and his experience has not been appreciably different than the the two older brothers who went across the country and roomed with a stranger.
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  • EarlVanDornEarlVanDorn 1196 replies87 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,283 Senior Member
    Absolutely room with a friend if you think you will be compatible. Forced living arrangements with an unknown stranger adds an unneeded element of risk to the college experience -- risk in terms of happiness, not that the stranger will stab you in the night.

    There are numerous studies which show that people are happiest when around those with whom they share a lot in common. Obviously you have more in common with your good friend than with a complete stranger from the git-go. You will meet new friends and perhaps join a sorority that is different from that of your friend. Perhaps your second year you will each decide on new living arrangements or one of you will move into a sorority house. Just because you choose to live with someone you actually like and whose company you enjoy doesn't mean the two of you need to be joined at the hip for life.
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  • BestfriendsgirlBestfriendsgirl 931 replies4 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 935 Member
    S2 and one of his closest friends are freshmen at the same school. They didn't want to room together, but wanted to be near each other, and they ended up on the same floor. It's working out well and both boys are meeting lots of new people.
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  • MizzBeeMizzBee 4518 replies60 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,578 Senior Member
    I have never been a fan of rooming with best friends, but "friends" can be fine. Typical roommate issues can follow you home, it is harder to reinvent yourself with someone who has known you for years. It will not be easier dealing with messy rooms or sexiled just because you are friends with the boyfriend as well. It will be harder to complain about possible roomie squabbles since you did have a choice.
    We have a lot of kids from our hometown that room with friends, go to school together, etc and their social circle is smaller. It doesn't have to happen, but we have seen it a lot in our area.
    As a word of caution, two best friends from my school (best friends since first grade) dormed together in college. They were still not speaking to one another at the 25th reunion. It is possible that your grandmother has an anecdote or two that is affecting her judgement.
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  • rhandcorhandco 4237 replies55 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,292 Senior Member
    Some schools do let you select "same floor of same dorm". My son's college lets a bunch of people say they want to be on the same floor, but not the same rooms necessarily.

    I do not see a downside unless your schedules are totally different, but that's the same thing as with a stranger.

    So since you are planning to room with a friend, I would say go out to lunch and talk about whether you are early or late risers, and so on. The best option is when you've actually stayed over with the friend before, at their house or a camp.

    Think of it as your grandmother expressing a preference. And take the advice that you aren't going to lose out on the college experience if you know your freshman year roommate, from people who have gone to college.

    Meeting new people is one thing, having to share a bedroom with a new person or people is another. I couldn't stand to have a locker near some people in HS, I'd much rather not room with a stranger.

    Then again, my son might have a friend who is going to his college, and that particular friend is not someone I'd want him to room with. But it sounds like your grandmother instead wants to have you room with a stranger for some reason, no matter who the friend is. She needs to calm down and perhaps you need to not discuss that particular subject with her. (methinks most grandmas who have not gone to college have no idea that housing is generally done online and no parent or guardian needs to sign off on housing choices)
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  • MsMommyMsMommy 269 replies2 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 271 Junior Member
    My son and his best friend are both attending the same college (quite by coincidence...neither of them really thought they would end up there) and were thrilled to room together. They lucked out and got an on-campus apartment and are having fun cooking and entertaining. As first time parents of a college student, my husband and I were thrilled to have one "variable" removed from the situation, as the change can be a bit difficult on parents. We can also talk with his friend's parents and piece together the "whole story" when things do get wonky. LOL! Least of the worries is limiting a social life...they are different majors, so I think they feel they are "doubling their pleasure...doubling their fun". They are talking about renting a house with some people from a totally different major next year. It can probably go either way, but we all feel they really lucked out. One question...is it personal? Does your grandmother LIKE your friend?
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  • JustOneDadJustOneDad 5726 replies119 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,845 Senior Member
    Your Grandma sounds like she wants the best for you. Take a chance. Live a little. Make G'ma happy. Get an unknown roomie like everyone else. If you can't work problems out like adults then you can always room with your bestie next term.
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