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Lakeridge senior Claire Petersen discusses the college roommate selection process

PETERSENI am sitting on the couch, searching for words to describe myself as I fill out a profile for a roommate match at college. Somehow after crafting a couple of paragraphs to explain who I am whether — I like a room hot or cold, if I am messy or neat, how often I clean my room, and my activities and interests — the computer will magically make the ideal match. But that's not what I want. I want someone whose life experiences are different than mine, a fresh perspective to be around after growing up in one part of the world until now. Of course you do not want to live with people who are irritating or make you uncomfortable, yet there is no way to know how you will get along until you are actually sharing a tiny room together.

Even when some colleges require incoming students to fill out complex personality tests to match them up, it doesn't always work out. When my cousin went to college a few years ago, she had to complete a long exam-like psychological profile before being matched. After a couple of months, it didn't work out and they split up. On the other end when students are randomly assigned, there are times when the 'opposites attract' idea succeeds. My mom told me she and her college roommate freshman year were so different they even dressed as each other for a Halloween party. They chose to room together all four years of school. Learning to get along in your personal space is a life lesson for the future.

We can't often pick our coworkers, relatives or even our own parents. Instead, we learn to live with them, as they also have to learn to live with us.

But the world is changing. With today's technology, we have begun to succeed at isolationism. We can work remotely so we don't have to interact face to face with other people. We can avoid contact with neighbors and cashiers we see at the grocery store by ordering everything online. From fresh produce to prescription eyewear appearing at our doorstep, we can avoid personal interaction completely. We also use our phones not to connect our voices but to impersonally communicate through text.

These are some ways we are losing an important part of life. We are missing out on experiencing the people whose perspectives, beliefs and different life stories teach us and enhance our world.

It is the element of connecting that makes me look forward to dorm life ahead with dozens of new people literally behind each door. While there is no such thing as a perfect match, I look forward to sharing the year ahead with someone who will be like a temporary sibling as we both encounter new experiences and learn to get

along.

Lakeridge High School senior Claire Petersen is one of two Pacer Notes columnists. Reach her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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