Seniors struggle to find authentic connections in roommate hunt

Seniors+struggle+to+find+authentic+connections+in+roommate+hunt

Fiona Lacroix '22, Page Editor

Photo alone, check. Photo on a game day, check. Photo out with friends, check. Much like dating profiles, the posts seniors craft for their college’s Facebook or Instagram groups have become formulaic. The posts are a chance to meet new friends, get one’s name out and ultimately: find a roommate.

Since so many eyes will be on the post, making split second judgments, there is pressure to make the post as palatable as possible. Most of the posts are near replicas of others.

“A lot of people were like, ‘I love going out but I also love staying in,’” Isaac Dittrich ’22 said. “Like every single post said that. That is just so unnecessary to say.”

Dittrich isn’t alone in his frustration. For Alexandra Lefief ’22, the search for a roommate online didn’t feel authentic or fruitful.

“It’s very easy to put up a mask or just a front online, so there’s no point in seeking out other people if I’m just gonna get a very idealized version of who this person is,” Lefief said, “Regardless of your situation, if you’ve talked to someone for months, or if you literally just meet them on moving day, they’re essentially still a stranger.”

Besides meeting a potential roommate in person, there really isn’t a way of being certain a pairing will be compatible according to Vivian Caine ’22. Digging deeper with inventive questions or video chatting are the best students living out of state can manage.

“Online it’s hard to tell who someone is, but their way of talking can say a lot about them,” Caine said. “Their pictures can say one thing, but then their vibe as they’re texting and responding says another. This one girl seemed really cool in her photos, but then she was super dry, so I was like, ‘You’re lame, onto the next.’”

The next connection was successful for Caine, who has found a roommate living out of state. Dittrich, who will be attending the University of Minnesota, still has questions, though.

“There’s always a little bit of thinking like, ‘What are their political standpoints?’” Dittrich said.

These deeper questions need to be asked, since saving them for months into living together may cost a friendship. However, that isn’t seen as a disaster for all seniors, including Lefief.

“I just need somebody that I can coexist with,” Lefief said. “Obviously, I want to have a great relationship with my roommate and I want to be able to talk to her and confide in her, but if we’re not the best of friends, it’s not the end of the world.”

But isn’t there any other way to find a roommate, to avoid all the fake small-talk? There was for Grace Lowell ’22, who decided to skip the hunt online and share a dorm with a close friend from South.

“There I was in the hallway one day, and I saw Maria and I was like, ‘Hey, Maria, you wanna be roommates?’” Lowell said. “She was like, ‘Okay,’ and we shook hands on it, and she goes, ‘Are you serious?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m serious.’ And then we walked away from each other. And now we’re roommates!” Lowell said.

Whether seniors plan to go in blind, match with someone online or stick with a local friend, Caine said most have at least explored the sea of identical posts in their respective Facebook groups. There, students are the most judgemental.

“It’s definitely messed up that we judge people based on our immediate impression,” Caine said. “It’s literally like online dating, but for roommates. It’s like roommate Tinder. I think one way to combat that is looking at their descriptions and their interests that they list, instead of their pictures. That way, we can form deeper connections.”