North Texas Daily

Random roommate selections prove to be problems for many students

Random roommate selections prove to be problems for many students

June 14
18:28 2017

Nina Quartrino | Staff Writer

The trash can in the kitchen is filled to the brim, while empty pizza boxes, dirty underwear and a damp pile clothes from the washer are sprawled along the living room floor. The room smells of something ripe and dishes overflow in the sink.

While it may seem like a nightmare, it’s a reality for many students living in residence halls and student housing. Having roommates is a part of being an adult, and a large portion of one’s college experience.

Some may end up lucky with their living situations, others wind up with the “terrible roommate situation” that many dread.

“I walked into a nasty apartment,” marketing junior Carlos Cortez, 22, said. “There were pizza boxes everywhere, plates and crumbs left all over the living room, dishes stacked dirty, both trash cans overflown with more trash on the floor next to them.”

While he came home to this after he went out of town for a week, he usually returns home to a messy, less than stellar apartment.

Cortez, who lives with three other males in a four bedroom, two bathroom off-campus student apartment, said that while all his roommates are nice, he only enjoys living with two of them.

“Thankfully I got lucky enough to share half of my apartment with a really cool guy,” Cortez said. “We both clean up after ourselves, keep the bathroom clean and take turns throwing away the trash.”

But Cortez said he definitely believes the roommate who “couldn’t clean up after himself” is to blame for his bad living experience.

Cortez’s current living situation is the result of randomly selected roommate-pairing, provided by his apartment complex.

“I feel like they just place you wherever there is a random spot open,” Cortez said. “I don’t believe the roommate pairing forms accurately place people of the same personalities together.”

David Bekloe, a pre-med junior and community assistant at City Parc student-living apartment complex, said that residence forms, for the most part, are usually successful.

“Residents come in and create a profile before move in day,” Bekloe said. “Then our leasing manager puts residents together based on similarities.”

Bekloe said the more honest and detailed that residents are on the forms, the better the roommate turn out is.

One question on the form is about whether or not you like to sleep in.

“If you say you like to sleep in, and your roommate considers 9 a.m. sleeping in, you may run into problems,” Bekloe said.

Most of the time, problems from random-selection come closer to the start of the semester when apartments fill up.

“Every now and again we have complaints,” Bekloe said. “But moving residents to new units when we’re at capacity can be difficult.”

For integrative studies junior Leah Casale, 21, having random roommates wasn’t all that bad.

“I definitely liked to live with roommates because it did give me two more friends,” Casale said.

The transfer student, who was paired with three other females from her apartment’s online questionnaire, said that because it was her first time living without her family, she felt weird at first about living with roommates that she did not know.

“I think they placed me with two other girls that I got along with well,” Casale said. “I don’t know if we technically had the same personalities –we had a lot of things in common, but we definitely had our differences, which probably made it work [out] okay.”

Casale said that setting boundaries and respecting each other’s belongings is what made her living experience decent.

“If you give attitude or disrespect, you’re probably going to get it right back,” Casale said. “It’s a two-way street. If you’re nice, [they will] probably be nice to you too. If you don’t touch their stuff, they’re probably not going to touch your stuff.”

Agreeing that the stress of moving away from home and going to school is hard enough, Casale said the best advice she would give to someone is to not move in with your best friend.

Casale has seen certain rules and boundaries crossed firsthand, because roommates [often can] become best friends and certain issues can make the living environment hostile.

“If you and your roommate [do] become best friends, that’s great, but I would definitely keep it at a distance,” Casale said.

Unlike Casale, English literature senior Faith Copeland’s toxic living situation began with deciding to move into a house with friends and acquaintances.

“One of my roommates leaves dirty underwear all around the house,” Copeland said. “It’s like having a pet that isn’t house-trained – sometimes you find an awful surprise on the floor.”

The 21-year-old senior lives in a house with three other students, two of which she met and befriended at UNT before moving into the house together. The other is a friend of someone in her social circle.

“I enjoy living with one and a half of my roommates” Copeland said. “I say this because one is an excellent roommate, while the .5 is for a roommate who I care about, but can be difficult [at times] to live with.”

Copeland said she is a passive observer to the shenanigans that have gone on within the household and believes that a feud between two of her roommates is what created such a hostile living environment.

“The other of my feuding roommates is prone to tantrums,” Copeland said. “He has thrown a soaking load of laundry from the washer, mid-wash, onto the kitchen floor and [just] left it there. Truly, this is the stuff of roommate legend.”

Though her current living situation isn’t ideal, Copeland hasn’t had all bad experiences with roommates.

She has had many randomly selected and survey-paired roommates in the residence halls at UNT who began as strangers but have turned out to be wonderful roommates.

Copeland said roommate matching is a good base for incoming freshman, transfer students and students moving into apartments or houses, and that it helps them find people with similar living patterns.

On the other hand, make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.

“It’s important to know that you don’t have to be best friends with your roommate,” Copeland said. “Sharing a space can be much easier if you don’t also share every aspect of your life.”

Featured Image: Apartments have residents fill out forms so they get paired with a roommate.  Jake King

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Nina Quatrino

Nina Quatrino

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