College roommates, high school friends and dorm life
It’s tempting to room with a best friend from high school. There’s no anxious waiting period to discover who the roommate is, no awkward first meeting or weirdness of living with a stranger. It would sound good to any parent too. But college students say it’s a lousy idea. Here are four reasons why:
- There’s little incentive to get out there and meet new people when you’ve got a buddy in your room. “You just bond together and you don’t meet new people,” says one San Jose State sophomore in the book How to Survive Your Freshman Year by Hundreds of Heads. The thought is echoed by a DePaul University junior in Harlan Cohen’s “The Naked Roommate”: “It was way too easy to stay inside and do nothing… Honestly, I do feel like I missed out.”
- Roommates expand one’s interests. “Live with a new person,” the San Jose State student said, “she’ll introduce you to a whole bunch of other aspects of life.” Your child will meet his roommate’s new friends and classmates, and be exposed to new ideas, hobbies and passions. Sticking with a high school friend means a continuation of high school interests, not college growth.
- Roommates force students to adapt. They learn to live, communicate, compromise and resolve conflict with new people, says Cohen. Room with a childhood friend, and that process doesn’t happen.
And finally, it risks the friendship. High school buddies don’t always make the effort to get along, says Cohen, they became complacent about cleaning, respecting space and personal possessions, and adhering to rules. “If you live with your best friend and hate it, you’ll lose a best friend,” says Cohen. “If you live with a stranger and hate it – not a loss