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May 22, 2014

Why NOT to Fear Random Roommates

Random Roommates in WamplerEvery incoming freshman has felt the pressure of having to make the decision to either select a roommate or opt for a random one. The combination of the fear of living with someone you don’t know, paired with a few, most likely embellished, horror stories, makes the decision that much harder for many students. 

Ana Fitzpatrick and Rachel Williams, both came to the conclusion that they wanted to “go random.”

“I knew from the beginning that I was going to pick a random roommate,” said Rachel. “A lot of the girls in our hall found people on Facebook and ended up not getting along with them. I just thought that the little bit of information you get from someone online isn’t enough to make a decision like that.”

Social Media can be a great way to meet people but using it as a tool to determine if someone will be a good roommate can be risky.

“I decided to go random because I didn’t want it to be my fault if I ended up not liking my roommate,” said Ana. “I searched in the Facebook group for a few weeks but ended up deciding that I would rather go completely random than to pick someone just by their Facebook profile.”

Even though they’re called “random” roommates, freshmen are actually matched according to their lifestyle survey answers. This survey includes questions about their sleeping, cleanliness, and noise level preferences. There are some things though, that can’t be covered in a survey.

“The toughest thing the first few weeks was getting used to how the other person likes things,” said Rachel. “We would both be like ‘uhhh do you want me to turn the light off? Or do you like to sleep with it on?’ stuff like that, things you wouldn’t know first meeting someone.”

JMU tries to ease this transition by providing a full week of activities, known as 1787, which will help freshmen get acclimated to their new surroundings and serves as a great way to get to know your roommate and others who live in your hall.

“All of the FROG activities the first week we were here really brought us together since we still didn’t really know each other,” Rachel said.  “Plus Ana would rather skip a meal than to eat all alone so we spent a lot of time getting to know each other during meals.”

Approximately 50% of all incoming JMU freshmen select random roommates, so you’re certainly not alone if you’ve opted to be matched.

“I think remembering that everyone else is going through the same thing is important,” Rachel said. “Everyone else is meeting new people and getting used to JMU too.”

While choosing a roommate seems to be a scary and life-altering decision, it really isn’t. In the end if you become best friends, that’s great, but if not, that’s okay too. Each of you will have opportunities to join clubs, take different classes and participate in other extracurricular activities. Your JMU experience will be comprised of much more than just your freshman roommate.

Luckily for Ana and Rachel, as well as many other matched roommates each year, they developed a friendship that will last beyond freshmen year. 

“Since we got along so well this year we decided to live together again next year too,” said Ana. “We are living in a suite in the Village with some girls from our hall this year.”

By Megan Martin (’11)








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