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Tips For Your Random Roommate Assignment

A highly anticipated moment for any soon-to-be-Penn-Stater’s summer is just around the corner — roommate assignments will soon be distributed to the freshmen masses. eLiving can literally cannot handle the volume of users rushing to sign in and see who they’ll be living with for their first year in State College. The site shudders to a virtual standstill as li’l baby Nittany Lions smack their laptops shouting “LOAD, DAMN IT!”

Be warned, this process can take a lonnnnnnng time. However, once the page finally loads and you see your roommate’s name, phone number, and email address for the first time, there’s a code of conduct that you need to abide by unless you want to be referred to as “my creepy-ass roommate” to all my high school friends before the fall semester even begins.

DO NOT add, friend request, subscribe to, and/or follow them on every social networking site they are a part of all at the same time. Spread out your creeping over time. They don’t need to see your name pop up on every account that they log into, be it Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, FourSquare, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, YouTube, or whatever else. Start with the Facebook, then take baby steps from there. And refrain from commenting, liking, messaging, and poking them in rapid succession. Especially poking. You shouldn’t poke people. Ever.

DO email them (before adding them on Facebook) to introduce yourself. It’s really helpful because you can decide who should bring what to school so that you don’t end up with two Xboxes but no TV or something equally unfortunate.

DO NOT utilize their phone number whatsoever, even though it’s at your disposal on the roommate assignment page. There’s no reason to text them and be all like “Hey, what’s up! I’m your new roommate!” That shit’s weird. Wait for them to give you their number before you contact them via cell phone. It’s common 21st century courtesy.

DO partake in a little ninja creep sesh. What is a ninja creep sesh you ask? It requires stalking their interests, statuses, and profile pictures on Facebook without liking or commenting on any of it, just to get an idea of what they’re like so that you can get yourself ready for the year to come. (Example: You ninja creep your new roommate Brad and he’s decked out in lax bro swag– pinnies, cargo shorts, and lanyards galore, sipping on Natty and sporting red eyes in every picture. You can now come to terms with the fact that you’re rooming with a potential frat boy and can prepare yourself for impending acts of douchebaggery).

DO NOT totally judge a book by its cover, though. Just because Brad looks like a douchemonster doesn’t mean that he’s not actually a super-sweet guy looking to get away from the lax bro crowd once he gets to State College. Appearances can be misleading, and if you go into the year with a negative image of your roommate, you could be missing out on a potentially awesome friendship. Try to keep an open mind and hope for the best, even while preparing yourself for the worst. But if he still shows up with a suitcase full of pinnies, it might be time to panic.

DO bring up some questions on their preferences in the email that you send them. Ask whether they’re a morning or a night person, whether they’re into partying or not, whether they’re organized or a total slob, etc. That way you arrive with an idea of what to expect. Then you won’t be caught off-guard when they wake up at 6 a.m. to go for a run every day, and they’ll be ready for you to stumble into the room in various states of inebriation at 2 a.m.

DO NOT freak out if your roommate is not at all what you expected. College is a time for new experiences, for branching out, and for learning new things. Even if your roommate comes from a totally different background, the two of you have absolutely nothing in common, and you end up hating each other’s guts, try to look at the situation as a character-building experience. Everyone  has some shitty roommate stories. Whether this person is a total slob, sexiles you every night while they get it on with their significant other, refuses to leave the room to go anywhere or do anything, is totally unhygienic and smells terrible, or they have any other of the infinite list of potentially frustrating habits… They’ll just make you appreciate the awesome roommates you eventually end up with as an upperclassman.

DO remember that if you’re actually put in a room with someone you can’t stand, you can go to the Room Exchange eBoard on eLiving to try and remove yourself from that living environment. Just make sure you’re honest with the person you try to exchange rooms with about why you’re leaving, so they don’t blindly stumble into the shitty situation you’re trying to get out of. Who knows– maybe if your issue is that your roommate keeps you up all night, this person you’re trying to exchange rooms with is up all night, too, and exchanging rooms will be a win-win.

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About the Author

Alicia Thomas

Alicia is a senior with majors in Print Journalism and Spanish and a minor in International Studies. Chances are that she's somewhere talking about her semester abroad or ranting about sexual assault prevention right now. She can be reached via Twitter (@aliciarthomas) or email ([email protected]).

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