From GPA to social life to the amount of weight gained, studies from Dartmouth and Marquette University have shown the huge impact roommates can have on the way freshmen experience their first year of college. It used to be that the college would pair students up, either through a survey or by random draw. But these days, according to the Boston Globe, more and more students are choosing who their roommate will be before they even get to college.
At some colleges, the Boston Globe says, as many as 90 percent of students choose their roommate themselves. Since its launch in 2010, roommate-finding website Roomsurf.com reports over 400,000 users. While some East seniors still don’t know where they’re going next year, let alone who they’ll be rooming with, many have already made the big decision as to who they’ll be living with in their freshman year of college.
Katie and Asia
For seniors Katie Sgroi and Asia Mundy, rooming together is about taking the best parts of high school, and bringing them along to college.
Sgroi and Mundy got to know each other through theatre classes at East, and became good friends in their junior year when Sgroi performed in one of Mundy’s shows. When they worked out in September that they would both be attending the University of Kansas (KU), they quickly decided to be roommates.
“I wanted to room with someone I knew, someone I would already be comfortable with, and wouldn’t have to get to know all over again,” Mundy said. “Even though that’s part of college, I thought it would be fun to go in with some sort of comfort level there.”
When they knew they were going to KU, both knew they would much prefer to stay with a current friend, rather than let the school choose for them. Neither of them place much trust in the KU potluck system, saying a survey can’t match friends.
“They could look really good on paper but when you actually meet each other, they could be completely different,” Sgroi said. “You could be rooming with an axe-murderer. People lie on the Internet, they could make themselves look really appealing, but you never know.”
Mundy and Sgroi get what people always say — that rooming with a high school friend stops you from branching out, but they don’t worry about it. They know they’ll meet new people everywhere they go, whether on their floor, in classes or in extracurriculars.
“Rooming with a friend could feel like you’re extending high school a little bit,” Mundy said. “But with the way we’ve experienced high school, through theatre, that wouldn’t be much of a problem. We’re carrying on something about theatre that we like. We like hanging out together.”
Sophie and Lindsey
Senior Sophie Paulk was in fourth grade at the time, racing at a club swim meet. She hadn’t even started thinking about high school, let alone college. She didn’t know that in seven years she would be accepted to the University of Oklahoma (OU). She didn’t know that the girl swimming alongside her would go on to become her roommate.
In October of her senior year, not long after her acceptance to OU, Paulk received a message on Roomsurf from Lindsey Cohen, a senior in Maryville, Mo. Cohen messaged Paulk because they lived fairly near each other, and they had put similar answers on the survey, so she thought they might work well as roommates. It was the first girl Paulk had talked to about rooming, and they quickly found they were perfect together. It wasn’t until months later that they realized they had swum against each other all those years ago, but had never spoken.
Paulk is a little nervous about having a roommate next year. She’s an only child and living so close to another person will be strange for her at first.
“That’ll just take some getting used to,” Paulk said. “I think it’ll be a good life lesson for me though, on how to share and how to make space with other people.”
Paulk didn’t know many people from Kansas City going to OU, so she knew she was going to have to go online to find her roommate. She worried that the answers people put to the survey, and the way they appeared online, would turn out to be totally different from them in real life. But through texting, social media and Cohen visiting, the two of them have discovered how well they fit together. Cohen has spent the night in Kansas City and hung out with Paulk’s friends. The two have become good friends over the year.
“She’s really fun, and very outgoing, and colorful,” Paulk said. “It’s been nice, we’ve known we were going to room for a while now, so we’ve got to know each other really well. We’ve become really good friends.”
Will and Michael
To anyone who sees seniors Will Fenimore and Michael Moedritzer interact with each other, whether they’re cracking up at a private joke or playing patty-cake like children in the playground, it’s obvious how good of friends they are. So when they realized they were both going to Mizzou Honors College next year, there was no question as to whether they would room together.
The two boys have known each other since seventh grade, became friends freshman year when they both played for the JV soccer team and have only gotten closer ever since then. They realize being so close with your roommate can be a disadvantage by limiting you from meeting new people. But they also see the ways in which already knowing your roommate can make socializing easier.
“I feel like, if you already know someone it’ll be easier to meet other people too,” Moedritzer said. “Because it’s not like you alone trying to meet people, it’s both of you. You can go and talk to the room next door, or have people over, and it’s easier.”
But they know that rooming together at Mizzou may make it hard for them to keep the quirkier aspects of their friendship hidden.
“We’re going to have to keep our weirdness to ourselves,” Moedritzer said.“Until we eventually break and no one wants to hang out with us anymore.”
Gracie and Lily
For years, all that senior Gracie Guignon had known about college was that she wanted a new beginning. She wanted to go far away from Kansas, meet new people and get a fresh start. She and Lily O’Neill, a senior at St. Teresa’s Academy, had met through mutual friends in freshman year. They’d been out-of-school friends since, and would often joke about rooming together at University of Missouri (MU). But it was always just that, a joke, because Guignon knew she wanted to get away.
“I wasn’t going to go to [MU],” Guignon said. “It wasn’t even a consideration for me because I knew I wanted to go far. I never in a million years, until I visited, considered it. But then I started considering it. It took forever for me to decide but once I finally had a gut feeling about it, it was good.”
From being adamant that she wanted a complete fresh start, to rooming with a friend at a local school, Guignon’s come a long way in making this decision.
“I have a thing, where I would never ever room with someone that I knew before,” Guignon said. “Lily’s the only exception.”
Guignon thinks it’s the perfect compromise. She gets the new start of college, and the distance from high school, but she still has those ties to home, and someone she can reminisce about Kansas City with.
“I imagine us sitting on our beds,” Guignon said. “And I could say like ‘Oh doesn’t Winstead’s sound so good right now,’ and she’d know what I was talking about.”