When I was in college, I had two experiences with computer-generated roommate selection. The first was my freshman year, and her name was Fran. Fran was neat and clean, and used Bath and BodyWorks raspberry lotion every day, and made me feel bad about the fact that I would never smell as good as her. She had perfect skin and a perfect body and had no tolerance for the fact that I drank a lot, hooked up with douche-y guys and generally had no idea what I was doing with my life.
After that, I transferred schools and was assigned to someone named Gretchen. I expected a German model, but instead she was severely overweight, sexually ambiguous, and lined her windowsill with X Files dolls.
Surprisingly, I did not stay in touch with either Gretchen or Fran, but both experiences became pretty good stories and gave me an idea of what it was like to live with someone with whom I did not share the same values.
Well, over at the Daily Trojan, there’s an article about whether or not students should be able to select their own roommates. Writer Maya Itah makes the case against it for the same reasons I mentioned: if kids can pick who they live with, they will not get the chance to learn one of the main lessons college has to offer — how to think outside yourself:
Say a traditionally studious girl rooms with an extrovert who goes out five nights a week. Girl No. 1 might write her roommate off as an idiot — until finding out that she maintains a 3.8 GPA. The realization would challenge her view of what a good student is, and might prevent her from jumping to similar conclusions in the future.
Couldn’t agree more. Itah makes the case that dealing with rommates mimics dealing with bosses, co-workers and the general public later in life. And if you can’t do that — if you never learn how to deal with someone’s passive aggressive bullshit or their tendency to mouth breathe, you are going to have a hard roe to hoe.