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Avoid the Cattiness of the Rooming Process

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at BC chapter.

It’s February.  Second semester classes are just starting to kick into a cycle.  You’ve started writing 2011 on your dateline instead of 2010.  And there are only a couple of weeks until Spring Break, when you and all your besties will get to fulfill those plans of helping an area of need on an Appalachia trip (or helping an area of pastiness on your bodies in Cancun).  It seems like the next month is going to be all about preparation for that epic week.
Or not.
Flashback from my freshman year: “Hey so, umm… I’ve been thinking… I really want to room with these 7 other girls and, like, we are totally set.  But I hope you don’t mind.  I mean, like, we could figure something out if you want.”  Yes, the frantic search for roommates has arrived as the housing lottery approaches.  Scared? Don’t worry – I’ve come up with a few pointers as well as a detailed description of the process to help all the newer Collegiettes™ out there.

BUT, before any of this should be going through your head make sure you’ve registered your intent to live on-campus next year!  ResLife will give you notice of the due date for this registration.  Don’t miss it, because there is no way of registering for housing after that date.  Simply sign onto Agora, find the ‘My ResLife’ link under the ‘My Services’ tab and follow the instructions.
PHASE 1:  Collect a good group of friends PEOPLE.
Rooming with your besties isn’t always the best option. 
You may be best friends now, but after a month of living together it could turn into a disaster situation because of the awful mesh of different lifestyles.  Most people don’t listen to that piece of advice until they actually experience the situation.  I know I didn’t.
So here’s a new piece:  make sure you are open with your entire group of friends.  Make sure that if your group of friends is some weird number (like 11 – weird right?), everyone is aware of the rooming plans.  Try not to make plans to get an 8-man with some friends without telling the rest of your friends, that’s catty.  Your group also needs to agree on how many people they want to live with; whether it’s just one other person in a double or 8 other people in a suite.  Honesty, really, is the key.

The most important thing though, is knowing and trusting your direct roommate.  You two will/should stick together until the end.  This person is your lifeline to living with someone you want to life with no matter where it happens to be:  Lower or the dreaded CoRo (really not as bad as people say it is; I live there).

If you’re missing people, no worries!  Just use the ‘Roommate Finder’ that ResLife provides (you’ll see it when you register your intent to house on-campus).  Also, many people who are looking for roommates post on the group pages for each class on Facebook (i.e. Boston College Class of 2013), so be sure to check out your options!
PHASE 2:  Elect a leader.
Seriously.  Don’t just mutually agree that you don’t need one.  Only one person in your group can register the group for the housing selection process.  Make sure the person knows what she is doing; you don’t want to end up not getting housing because you couldn’t find the link on Agora!
This ‘leader’ should be trustworthy as well:  you’ll be giving her your Eagle ID number.  (The leader needs each ID number in the group to register online.)  Also, if your group is selected for the housing you registered for, your pick time could be during classes, so make sure your leader can/is willing to register you at any possible pick time.
Check out the calendar of events to know when to register your group for the housing lottery, depending on if you’re going for an 8-man, a 9-man, or a double.  Again, just sign onto Agora and click on the ‘My ResLife’ link, which will lead you right to the Google calendar of events and lottery days.
PHASE 3:  Make a list.
Your group needs to figure out beforehand which buildings have the type of housing you are interested in and agree on a preference of buildings over others.  Have a back-up in case your first choice is taken.  There will be disputes about this; it’s a certainty because everyone has different tastes and priorities.  Vandy vs. 90?  Edmonds (which has a kitchen) or Walsh?  Be lenient and open to different opinions, avoid being stubborn and stiff, that’s catty.  If you can’t agree about something as silly as a building, how are you going to agree about sharing a bathroom or cleaning up the suite?  Take a look at the floorplans of each residence hall to locate which type of housing is found in each building as well as the layout of the rooms.  Most of all, please agree on something before registering yourselves for a lottery. 

Walsh or Edmonds?

PHASE 4:  Lay out the possibilities
There are only so many 8-man’s available.  If you’re a rising sophomore, you have the last pick of housing (upper-class women pick first).  So opt for doing the ‘what if’s.  What if you don’t get that 8-man suite in Vandy?  What will you go for next?  The new possibilities mean breaking apart your group.  Easy enough right?  Just break the 8 people into two sets of 4 and there you have it.  Wrong.

Every person in the group should be aware of who her direct roommate is (see step 1).  So it may be easy to split into two 4-man’s for some groups but for others, there may be problems.  Everyone expected to live together, so deciding who goes in each room may be difficult.  Talk it out now and agree on a solution before the rooming process even starts in order to avoid the stress of having to make a hasty decision the night before the next possible lottery.  It also ensures that everyone is aware of the decisions they agreed upon.
No going behind someone’s back, that’s catty
Further splitting, dropping, adding, searching, may be needed.  For some reason, housing has it that you need to morph your original 8 into a 6-man, 7-man, or 9-man… what???  Here are some guidelines to deal with those situations:

  • Splitting/Dropping people:  Again, figure it out beforehand so that those who are breaking off from your group are aware of this and agree with it.  Also, it gives them the chance to look into latching on to other groups if this situation were to occur.  Don’t just decide on a certain 6 and tell the discarded girls the night before registration, that’s catty.
  • Searching/Adding people:  You may be in love with this girl Teresa, like, she’s so totally awesome and such a partier, and the best part is she was discarded by her own group… Naturally, you want Teresa to join your select 8 (or whatever number you have).  But two other girls in your group really, really dislike Teresa; she’s a boy-stealer.  Talk it out.  It can be hard to suddenly explain your feelings about a person after barely 6 months of knowing these ‘besties’, but it’ll be better in the end.  You don’t want to be living with a boy-stealer, we all know it sucks and we all know it’s a catty thing to be.  However, as I’ve mentioned before, honesty and an open mind would help in this situation.  Try asking girls from your classes or on your hall.  Or even use the Roommate Finder on Agora or browse the Facebook group for your class year.  You could even look into rooming with upper-class women.  In the end though, everyone needs to be OK with the decision made.

PHASE 5Make lasting friendships.

Final Tip.  Make an agreement that when it comes down to the end of the rooming process, either you’ll stick together (in whatever shape you’ll be) or that each set of direct roommates is on their own.  You don’t want to be scratching each other’s eyes out on top of all the disappointment from the housing process; that would be really catty.  Always remember that living with people you enjoy being with is more important than getting the top floor of Vandy.  But even if we don’t mean for it to happen, life can get very catty for us girls.  So my fellow Collegiettes™, my final, final piece of advice is to put yourself in the position of the girl you’re about to screw over.
Would you want another girl to treat you that way?  I certainly wouldn’t.
For more information about the rooming process, talk to your RAs, upper-class women, and check out the info sessions provided throughout February by ResLife.  And remember:  friends are your families away from home, so do your best to keep them around!  Good luck!

Kathryn Fox is a senior at Boston College, majoring in International Studies. Originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, she loves Boston but struggles with the cold weather! Kathryn is involved in teaching ESL classes, interning in BC's museum, and volunteering. She loves to travel and spent her junior year studying abroad in Morocco and South Africa. In her free time, Kathryn enjoys reading Jane Austen novels, baking, and watching trashy TV with her roommates. After graduation, she is returning to Oklahoma to work for Teach for America.