“Random” Room Assignment

Now when I came to Swarthmore, I only knew three people. And this is on a “Facebook friends who have met once or more” scale. I had met all these people at a summer academic program at Carleton College.  Two of them were sophomores who I knew went to Swarthmore when I first visited. However, the other I had not realized was attending Swarthmore until she posted in the Facebook group. We had done the same camp and knew each other just as well as I knew some of the people I had graduated with in high school. We knew each other’s names, each other’s friends, and had some conversations and classes together. However, that was the extent of our acquaintanceship. So, when I found out she was attending Swat I was surprised. I would know three people going in- which is .2% of the entire college. That’s over 7,000 people at your typical state school. What can I say, I was already pretty popular.  

In reality, I was really excited to meet everyone else at Swat.Three weeks before the start of orientation, we were finally supposed to get our roommate assignments. I was thrilled to get to know my roommate; I saw it as my first step to meeting people and making friends in my new community. My sister, also a college freshman, already knew her roommates. She was snapchatting them and making plans for their room.  So, naturally I was quite impatient to finally here about my roommate. So, on August 1st- the day i had been counting down to for weeks- rooming assignments came out… for everyone but freshmen. Swarthmore, luckily, has an online directory system. So, my sophomore friend had looked me up and told me of my dorm assignment. I found out I was in Mertz, knew the floor, but still had no idea who my roommate was- the information I really wanted to know.  

Another freshmen had a similar idea and changed her server to be able to look up students’ rooms. She spent the entire day on Facebook getting requests and sending people their room numbers.  This girl, who some people still recognize her as the person who helped lots of restless freshmen find their rooms, was my roommate. However, I had not asked her to look up my room, rather she looked me up- as she was the girl I had met so many years ago.  However, when she looked up my name she couldn’t believe our room numbers matched. The one person I already knew became my roommate. The chances were at least 1/250 and that is a modest estimation.   

So, random room assignment does not exist.  There are rooms of students from the same state or students with the same name.  Many of us have been led to believe that Housing gets bored after the first couple hundred assignments and starts to have fun with the rest. However, it also isn’t random as they pair you with people who really match with you.  My roommate and I live exactly the same. We have different friends, but at the end of the night we tell each other all our problems and stories of the day. We both are messy, avoid cleaning our fridge, and take many alarms to wake up. Years ago we met, went on our way, and never thought we would talk again, but Swarthmore had another idea in mind. They did not know that we knew each other, they just knew that we were compatible. And they weren’t wrong.


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