Freshman rooming assignments do not always work. Despite the painstaking deliberation taken over the first-year housing survey (how many clothes can I toss on the floor and still qualify as “moderately messy?”), the perfect roommate can elude us, and many part after two semesters with well wishes, but no intention of renewing the roommate contract.
The group attempted to block together as sophomores, but the housing lottery ultimately prevailed. Lo wound up on the hall this year after a lucky swap moved him from the fourth floor down to the third.
The rooms look much the same as they did four years ago. Foster is sleeping on the same sheets; Gettino’s rock collection remains on display; and Lo’s Alice in Wonderland and The Hush Sound posters have survived three years of Swat storage. After a visit from fellow-freshmen Parrishers this past weekend, “It really felt like we were back,” Lo said.
“I’m trying not to milk the nostalgia too much though,” he added. “We want this to be a new experience — we’re not trying to recreate an old one.”
Working as an RA definitely changes the nature of the setup. Reprimanding Foster for playing rugby in the hall heralded in the “awkward power dynamic” created when friends are given authority over friends; however, mutual respect will hopefully keep the peace — and quiet — on the Hall of Shakespeare Mad-Libs.
While the sheer number of returning hallmates is impressive, their track record lends even more faith to the roommate matching process. Reed Coke bunked with a roommate from his freshmen quad for three years; Lauren Kim’s roommate of two years, whom she met at international student orientation, now lives next door in CD; and the inseparable Benjamin Geselowitz and Richard Chen have lived together for all four years (they are now more distant neighbors — Chen lives one floor down — but often make time to visit).
“We kind of have a PR campaign going… we want them to feel like we can all hang out, that they can get to know us, instead of just being these mysterious, unseen faces,” Jackson Pietsch, formerly of EF 1st, added.
So what is the secret for a miracle roommate match? Pietsch suggests EF’s block is only part of the story. “There’s a lot of us here, but there’s also a lot of people we lived with as freshmen who aren’t living here now,” he said. “It’s like marriage — sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.”