COLUMN: Stranger danger

If you are a student who has some trouble making connections, fear not.

The deadline to register for on-campus student housing is looming just around the corner, and Residence Life is giving you about four more weeks to decide who you're going to shack up with for an entire academic year.

Most of us know the anxiety that comes with selecting members to be part of a group project.

The doubt, the judgment and the general distrust of everyone else in your class makes a seemingly simple task into something monumental.

This stressful decision is only magnified during the housing registration process, when students are forced to select their future roommates in early November, not even three months after freshmen have arrived at college.

If the thought of trusting a stranger with your grade is scary, good luck trusting one with your constant company.

With such a short amount of time to get to know those around you, how can you select your future roommates with confidence? How can you choose the human being or beings worthy of sharing a television, a bathroom and your own oxygen with for the next entire school year?

I was placed with three complete strangers my freshman year and, by some miracle, got along with all of them. Two of them have since become some of my closest friends, and we've upgraded from sharing DVDs and animals crackers to sharing an apartment two years later.

I however am the exception, and I can't help but wonder what might have happened had the Residence Life gods not smiled upon me by placing us in the same room.

I could be living with a pathological liar or someone fond of stealing. Worse yet, I could be sharing my bathroom sink with someone who fails to appreciate my sarcasm and love of twisted Lifetime movies.

Different tastes in music, opposite sleep schedules and clashing personalities. The horrific possibilities when it comes to roommates are endless.

So how can you protect yourself from a potential roommate disaster?

My advice is simple. Get proactive, get friendly and get out there in the community.

Make small talk with that girl who lives across from you. Share notes with the guy who sits next to you in class every day. Actually get to know the other people in the RSO you've joined. These little steps will make finding someone you can stand to be around a whole lot easier.

The Residence Life gods do not treat everyone with the same kindness that I was shown my freshman year. Before you take the leap of entering into a housing agreement with someone, I encourage you to stop and ask yourself the tough questions.

Are you really going to be comfortable sharing your animal crackers with that person?


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