Welcome to the new blog by a So-Far-Satisfied Rutgers Parent. By a Cheerful-Second-Semester-Freshman’s Bill-Payer. By not only a new Rutgers mom – but a new college mom.
Actually, help me come up with a catchy moniker for this occasional missive, ‘cuz I got nothin’. As for helping me cope with my all-too-recently-emptied nest, it’s just not a problem. My hatchling is happy at Rutgers, and if she’s happy, her folks are. Reasonably.
I was at dinner last night with a high school parent peppering me with questions about, of all things, the dormitory roommate issue. It seems as good a topic as any to bat around in this space, so let’s have at it, shall we?
The urgent query last night was whether two friends from high school can room together at Rutgers. The short answer is YES. The question I kept to myself was, Why in the name of all that is horizon-broadening and character-building would you want to? This is not to disrespect friendships of long standing, forged through years of playdates, sleepovers, and shared viruses. But learning to accommodate even the luckiest roommate assignment is one of the many new life skills we send our cherubs off to college to master, n’est-ce pas?
To be sure, every high schooler with a college acquaintance has been dismayed by Roommate Horror Stories. The details vary, but in general they can be grouped under the single heading of The Psycho Roommate. This is like cruise ships infested with intractable stomach bugs: it happens very rarely but it leads the news when it does. But Rutgers has a nifty system for avoiding dorm room divorces. As a case study, may I offer that of my daughter Griselda* and her roomie, Petronilla*.
(*OF COURSE* those are not their names. But while my spawn has no expectation of privacy in this lifetime, her roommate did not sign up for random blog intrusions into her anonymity. )
Neither girl had met until the August day that they moved in. Notified earlier in the month of their assignment, they both promptly “friended” each other on Facebook and connected a handful of times via text and phone, as Rutgers recommends. They had attended different orientation sessions but each filled out the (apparently!) well-designed Rutgers questionnaire about personal preferences and habits. Hence, their contented cohabitation this year.
Griselda proudly declares that she and Petronilla are the dorm poster children for well-matched roommates. The secret to their compatibility, in Griselda’s words: “We’re both really low maintenance.” In my words: they are both SLOBS. One could use a snow plow to clean their room. Crime scene tape across the door would be inadequate.
But this mess is no stress, and that’s the key: if either had been inadvertently matched to one of the neatniks across the hall (that room would make Martha weep with joy!), their dorm life would be more like a cat and a ferret sharing a litter box. (Put it on your bucket list to watch a cat bury ferret poop in feline frustration. Best cat video ever! But I digress.)
Griselda knows of only one roommate pair that opted for separation, but those young women recklessly fell in ”like” at orientation and opted against taking the compatibility questionnaire.
The questionnaire aligns Griselda and Petronilla so well in other areas – sleep habits, social life, boundaries – they are breezily planning to room together in a quad with another pair of like-minded laid-back companions should one of them score a cooperative Housing Lottery Number for next year.
Aahh, the Housing Lottery. That is a post for next time. After I shop for a plow.