As we start to work our way into the summer, Vox will be posting prefrosh previews. This series of posts (we hope) will be a helpful guide to starting your Georgetown experience as a freshman.
First off, Vox would like to extend a congratulations to all the members of the class of 2016 coming to Georgetown next fall.
Even though you don’t head to campus for a few more months, it’s already time for you to pick roommates. Our roommate matching service, CHARMS opens this morning. This guide is to help you figure out who you’ll be boarding with for the next year. In the comments, feel free to share your own roommate experiences and, freshmen, feel free to ask your own questions.
Be honest. I hope you told the complete truth on your CHARMS surveys. No matter what happens, you’ll be stuck with someone, so don’t feel the need to bend your preferences because you think it’ll make finding a roommate harder. If you go to bed every night at 9:30 listening to the Lion King soundtrack—not only will you find someone that’s okay with that—someone has three Lion King pillows and prefers to start the CD on “Hakuna Matata” instead of “Circle of Life.” You’re in a bigger place now.
Say too much rather than too little. Use the comments box and messaging feature liberally to explain your life habits. This will draw potential roommates to your page. Once you get out all those weird quirks on day one, there won’t be much more to hide!
Living Preference Questionnaire. The LPQ has a list of preferences with an attached a 1-10 importance value. When you’re searching for people, the prompt asks for the preference (“Find people who smoke/do not smoke”) and the minimum importance value (“greater than 5″). When listing all the things that are important to you, only attach an importance factor to a maximum of one your terms in the search. That way, you have more choices and you don’t inadvertently believe that there’s no one out there for you just because no one put greater than 8 importance for a cold temperature room.
Just because you Facebook stalked someone doesn’t mean you know them. For some reason, people believe that their Facebook pages are a perfect reflection of themselves. It’s not. You’re rooming with a person, not a Facebook page. People have hugely different online and offline personalities. Stalking someone is not a substitute for discussing your concrete living preferences. However, it can be a great way to find those people and start a conversation.
Don’t try to find a best friend. Sure, roommates are generally friends. They live together, spend time together, and share a lot of the same experiences, but what you can communicate online isn’t enough to determine if you’ll be friends in real life. Don’t go through this process thinking you have to find your best friend. It’s impossible, and social compatibility does not translate into rooming compatibility.
(If possible) try to find a roommate who’s different than you. Often, people will try to find a roommate who they can be friends with, and that predisposes people to looking for people similar to them. Try to avoid this tendency and room with someone from farther away than Camden.
Pay attention to the question “What kind of experience do you want at Georgetown?” Or something along those lines. The answers range from, basically, “I’m here to enjoy myself and have a good time” (Read: I’m here to party), to “I’ve been given a great opportunity and I intend to focus on my studies.” There are two options in between. This question tells you how much your roommate will tolerate your, shall we say, shenanigans. That, and how much he or she expects tolerance from you. You really should be on the same page with your roommate about this.
Don’t rush into it. I’m sure all you have been waiting for weeks to start looking for your roommates, but, honestly, take some time with this. No one else will be able to find you if you commit to the first person who asks. There might be someone who fits better who’ll find you later.
Consider not using CHARMS. CHARMS is far from a perfect service. If you don’t feel like going through the whole charade, just don’t! There are a lot of sane, interesting individuals who came to Georgetown not obsessing over the roommate process, and we all made it.
Welcome to Georgetown, class of 2016, and we wish you a pleasant and stress-free summer.
Credit to Julie Patterson, former Vox-er for the original version of this post.
Photo: The Roommate (IMDb)