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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Live and Let Live Together

By April Heiselt

The Odd Couple, Three’s Company and Friends: These titles may describe some type of the relationships that you have with your college roommates. How many of us have wanted to be roommates with Monica, Rachael, Joey or Chandler? Then again, maybe you didn’t want to be their roommate, you just covet their seemingly inexpensive New York apartment.

Your roommate may not be on Friends, perhaps he or she was more likely to be seen on America’s Most Wanted, but as students eventually we all end up living with someone. The person you choose to live with may be your best friend from high school, an old mission companion or maybe your newlywed spouse, but like them or leave them, you have to figure out how to live with the person who shares your bedroom.

So how do roommates get together? At the dorms near Fort Douglas they use a unique system to match up roommates. The directors first identify the neighborhood in which a student belongs. The three neighborhoods that make up Heritage Commons are Shoreline Ridge, which accommodates families and graduate students, Benchmark Plaza, which accommodates students with 60 or more credit hours, Gateway Heights, which accommodates students in their first-year experience, Chapel Glen and Sagepoint, which also accommodates first-year students.

Once the neighborhood is determined, a roommate must be found. Some students already know the person they will be rooming with, while others need to be matched up. “If individuals have identified a roommate, then we try to give that highest priority,” said Curtis Grow, associate director of residential living. “If the student hasn’t identified a roommate then we send out a personality survey that asks residents questions about their hobbies, study habits, and allows them to make any additional comments about the qualities hoped for in a roommate.”

After the surveys are collected, the assignments are made by hand so that the additional comments made on the personality surveys can be taken into account. “There is no real science to it,” Grow said. “What we are looking for is red flags, we don’t want to put oil and water together.”

Upon arrival to Heritage Commons, residents are given a handbook which contains a section on how to make living with your roommate successful. Grow suggests making sure that the communication lines are open early between roommates. “If things aren’t going well, don’t wait forever, ask a Resident Assistant for help,” he said.

At the University Student Apartments, the Medical Towers are the only location where roommates are allowed. “We don’t assign roommates,” said Katherine Carr, Assistant Director for Residence Life. “We keep an active list, but most of our residents come to us with their roommate preference.” Carr also suggests talking with your roommate before living with them.

“It is important to set ground rules going in as to who is responsible for which duties. It is always easier to handle problems in the beginning then to try and solve them later,” Carr said.

Being matched up with a roommate may be intimidating, but choosing your own roommate can also have its ups and downs. “I’d room with a guy over a girl any day,” said Eve Hall, a graduate student in political science. “Guys don’t take my clothes or my makeup with out asking, and if you get in a fight, it’s over in an hour.”

Hall said that although living with guys is preferable over living with girls, guys do have their moments. “I was living with a University of Utah basketball player and he would never shovel the snow in the winter. He didn’t want to hurt himself so I always had to do it,” Hall said.

Benjamin Lawrence, an English and pre-architectural studies major, has been living with an old friend for the last six months. “It’s been a good experience,” said Lawrence. “We already knew most of each other’s habits and since we have busy schedules we don’t spend massive amounts of time together so that works out well.”

Even though Lawrence knew his roommate before they lived together, he found some unexpected things once they were living in the same apartment. “My roommate was a lot cleaner than I thought he’d be,” Lawrence said. “We also enjoy watching Spanish soap operas together, we kind of have our own story going on.”

Although having a roommate can be difficult, it can also be a life-changing experience. After all, some roommates end up being neighbors, godparents for each other’s children, and life-long friends. So give your roommate a chance, because if they weren’t already, they could end up being one of your friends.

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