There’s always this fear when you get that email labelled “Roommate Details.” I’ve been through it a few times before of course. But when all you’ve got is a name and an email, all kinds of possibilities run through your head. I had a friend whose roommate walked in the first day and announced, “I live my life by the Bible” and another one whose roommate never even contacted her before move-in day.
I myself haven’t had any truly terrible roommates before. The worst was just more of an antisocial weirdo (at dinner with a guest speaker, she played with her Gameboy under the table the entire time) who I don’t think I ever had an entire conversation with. I don’t think that there are so many truly terrible people in the world that there’s any sort of odds that I’ll end up with one of them.
This has got to be what blind dating is like. First, there’s the seize of anticipation. Then there’s the hope that this person will be awesome and just like you and that you’ll be singing kumbaya by the end of Move-In Day. Next comes the fear that it’ll be one of those psycho preppy girls who peppers every line with a backhanded compliment, or a arsehole brainiac with no social skills.
I’m not the best person at making a good first impression. I’ve never been the one to send that first email (mostly, I have a fear of looking like I’m the crazy one) so I just wait, watching for that first communication. Then when the email comes (as it always does) I spend a good two hours crafting a response that makes me sound funny, but not annoyingly so; intelligent, but not arrogantly so; and overall a sane, generally good roommate.
It seems to me that this is a sadistic little game on the part of academic institutions. SURELY they could give out more than a name and an email. I know there are privacy laws and all…but maybe let people choose a picture to send? Even dating sites do that. You can tell a lot about a person from their picture. Are they kind of pale and sticky-looking and avoid eye contact with the camera? Then they’re probably the nerdy type–look out for a lack of interpersonal communication. Are they bottle-blond with matching pink skirt and shoes? Ick.
Actually, college roommate matching could learn a lot from dating services.
No, I’m serious. When you sign up for on-campus housing you should have to fill out a short list of interests, your intended major, and what time you go to sleep/wake up (definitely those last two, at the very least), as well as you have ever had anyone call you a hypochondriac, because those are no fun to live with. It would work out perfectly. Everyone would have both conversation starters, and know if they’ll hate each other before the year even begins.
Goodness. Maybe I’m the crazy roommate. Or maybe I just ought to never, ever try blind dating.
(My roommate turned out to be pretty cool actually. Another bullet dodged!)