Incoming college freshman, understandably nervous about their future living arrangements, learn their roommate assignments and promptly log on their Facebook accounts to investigate their future roommates.
Upon finding information they find favorable or, perhaps even, unfavorable, they began to immediately build friendships or put in for roommate changes, often without even meeting the assigned roommate.
Weeding Out via Social Media: Useful or Damaging?
While this may seem like a useful tool, it actually defeats the purpose of leaving comfort zones to bond with other students over college experiences. These bonds may not occur in other scenarios, but the unique social setting college provides allows students from all different backgrounds to connect.
Such connections build relationships that last a lifetime, help celebrate cultural diversity and open students’ minds to appreciate differences. Going even further, the bonds will shape job opportunities, communities and relations for years to come.
Keeping these concepts in mind, it’s easy to understand how “weeding out” potential individuals as roommates via Facebook begins to sour the entire process.
Naturally, people always feel more comfortable with those more like them, but that’s not really the point, is it? The point is to leave
your comfort zone.
While what students learn in college classrooms is undoubtedly important, the lessons learned outside
of classrooms may be in danger. Such lessons– life lessons – are often just as important in terms of building strong character in individuals and are part of the distinctive American college experience we've all grown so fond of.
Is this Facebook’s fault? No. Perhaps, students aren't even aware of the importance the entire college experience (roommates, included) plays in socialization aspects.
That being said, it's not the student's fault either. It's second nature nowadays to Google or Facebook a person within moments of being introduced to them. That's our modern day culture.
In fact, some schools even require students to choose roommates through Facebook apps - there's no way of getting around the "social media" aspect of finding a roommate in that case.
Be Cautious When Reading Potential Roommate Information
Keep in mind, though, that whatever a person posts on a social media platform cannot possibly encompass the full scope of who they are as a person or what it will be like to live with them.
People are able to post information as they see fit and many include information that they think looks appealing - not the entire truth.
Unfortunately, it may take living with an individual to learn what he or she is actually
The best way to combat this?
Ask about core values and lifestyle choices that matter most to you or will truly impact your living situation. The smaller idiosyncrasies will be much
easier to work through versus the non-negotiables.
For Your Consideration...
If you do have a choice, however, consider the fact that college students have roomed blind (without any sort of social media research or assistance) and have been doing so successfully for decades.
Perhaps the saying is “curiosity killed the cat” for a reason. If you do decide to room blind, why not just go into it blind? Yes, it may be scary. In fact, we can almost guarantee it will be scary.
However, you’re not doing yourself any favors by choosing someone just like yourself. Chances are, if you do it that way, you won’t learn much about yourself, either. You learn through differences, conflicts and diversity - not vanilla interactions.
Besides, isn't that really what college is all about in the end?
Let fate take its course. It could turn out wonderfully well and you could learn a lot, make a new friend or maybe not. It’s all part of the college experience, so let yourself experience it, no matter how afraid you may be.
What are your fears about or experiences with rooming blind?