Having a roommate in college isn’t as commonplace as it once was.
The Atlantic published an article this week about the decline of the college roommate and how many higher-education institutions are allowing freshmen to live in single dorms.
In part, this is to give students who would rather live alone an opportunity to do just that. And it gives students a chance to avoid below par roommate experiences, The Atlantic reported. So colleges have developed a new way to give students their privacy.
“In the parlance of university residence life, it’s called a ‘super single’: a room big enough for two people but reserved for one,” The Atlantic reported. “A natural outgrowth of the college amenities arms race — the competition to build facilities with ever-more luxurious spaces — super singles cater to a growing number of students willing to pay for a private room.”
Having super singles, or regular similar dorms for that matter, will change the landscape of the college experience, The Atlantic reported. So much of college is centered around the people you meet and the relationships you have with friends and roommates. Some of those bonds might disappear.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that private rooms have changed and still are changing social aspects of college,” Spencer Kiessling, a freshman at the University of South Carolina, told The Atlantic. “With a private room, it’s very easy to find yourself cut off from a social life. If you just go back to your room as soon as class is over, you’re never going to meet anyone new or have any experiences beyond those in the classroom.”
The Iowa State Daily, a college newspaper for Iowa State, ran a column that the college needs to better consider its roommate matches. The column, written by Kelsey Cummings, said that the school should do a better job of matching potential roommates, especially in those earlier college years when young freshmen are still adjusting to the college lifestyle.
“In many instances, being paired with an incompatible roommate can cause undue stress and anxiety for a person,” Cummings wrote. “Reoccurring problems with noise level, guests, sleep schedules and other variables can create tension in a room. Even if the two roommates attempt to resolve these issues on their own, there is no guarantee that these arguments will not just create further tensions.”
So what makes a good roommate then? Is it someone who stays to themselves and doesn’t interact with you? Or is it someone who makes you happy to return to your room? BuzzFeed writer Rega Jha said a roommate is someone who doesn’t pressure you into things and is comfortable being around you, among other ideas.
“And,” Jha wrote, “the No. 1 sign that you have the perfect roommate is: You’re always thrilled to go home.”