Author Barbara Dana once said, “A good roommate may be the single most important thing to have when one is away at school.” While she was completely correct in saying this, she would even have to agree that the measures taken to insure a good roommate have gotten out of control. Maureen Dowd, an Award Winning Columnist, in her article, Don’t Send In The Clones, she expounds on this statement and reveals some negative changes that up and coming college students are making. The way one learns to live with the stranger that we have been thrown into the same room with is one of the most important years of our lives teaching us valuable life lessons. Your roommate exposes you to different kinds of people and personalities that may not be familiar and prepares you for dealing with these people. Now a days students are using the Internet to match themselves to roommates with similar personalities and we are seeing how this can be harmful to ones development.
When you choose to be randomly paired with someone you go into the situation with an open mind. It can be guaranteed that the person you are roomed with will be different than you in some way, and that you will have to adapt in order to cope with those differences. For example, in Dalton Conley’s article on college roommates, which is almost parallel to that of Dowd’s, he mentions a survey by a sociologist at Cornell that found, in 2002, the white students who were assigned to a roommate of a different race, ended up more open minded about race. Being exposed to differences that may be new and unfamiliar, and learning how to cope with them, is an experience one would miss out on if they had matched themselves to the ‘perfect’ roommate.
Dowd stated that, “Choosing roommates who are mirror images may fit with our narcissistic and micro targeted society, but it retards creativity and social growth.” Throughout her column, Don’t Send In The Clones she refers to websites such as URoomSurf and RoomBug that allow students to match themselves to their future roommate. These sites are examples of the tools that retard a student’s social growth and development. When you limit the new experiences and surprises, you limit the new possibilities and understanding.
Going into the college roommate situation unprepared, actually leads up to you being prepared for a key aspect of life. Meeting new people. One of the hardest things to do in a person’s life is to deal with people who you don’t agree with and if you don’t have this experience before you go into the workforce, or marriage even, you will be at a disadvantage. Dowd...