Coming to NYU as a freshman can be an overwhelming experience. Dealing with subway lines and unpredictable weather in one of the world’s most chaotic cities would be unnerving for any seventeen or eighteen year-old. Nevertheless, no matter what college you go to, the most stressful part of freshman year always remains the same: move-in day. There is no doubt that meeting the person you will have to live with for the next nine months is as exciting as it is horrifying.
Everyone has heard those infamous roommate horror stories. Thankfully, most Freshmen are past the point at the beginning of second semester. But we’re still woken up, drenched in a cold sweat, remembering how we all crossed our fingers before that fateful move-in day, praying that our future roomie would be on the brighter side of the sanity spectrum. The hype can be so daunting that some students find their roommate ahead of time, opting out of this move-in anxiety entirely. In the fall of 2013, however, choosing your own roommate will no longer be an option.
According to Marc Wais, the Vice President of Student Affairs, NYU Housing will be matching every freshman with their roommates next year as a means to increase “global and inclusive campus community.” Requests for exploration floors and low-cost housing will still be taken into consideration, but geographic diversity will be one of the primary variables in the matching process. Living with someone who lives in a different state, country, or continent will encourage students to network across geographic barriers.
This diversity-mined policy begs a variety of questions, the most potent of which would probably concern the extent of open-mindedness that this policy requires in order to succeed. Freshmen who choose their roommate ahead of time typically do so because they are very particular about the kind of person they want to live with. Without the ability to be selective, some students may face conflict they probably would not experience with a roommate of their choice. It is, however, important to note that this type of conflict could ultimately be conducive to personal growth.
While next year’s freshmen will be more restricted, upperclassmen will experience a new privilege with regards to housing. For all you girls who have fantasized about rooming with the Will to your Grace, you will be glad to know that, as we reported last semester, gender-neutral housing is here. Tom Ellett, Sr. Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, is a strong proponent of this policy; he boldly claims, “treating students as adults to make life choices in their living environment in a place like NYC is fitting.”
Now students can live in the same room with a friend of the opposite sex. With that in mind, students can also room with people who are a little bit more than friends. NYU may be overlooking the fact that many guy-girl couples will make the not-so-adult decision to move in together in their Sophomore, Junior, or Senior year. The gender-neutral policy is not binding in the sense that you can always do bed-for-bed swaps, but there may be a little bit more swapping (of other things) than intended if college sweethearts decide to shack up.
Regardless of the many caveats that may come along with these new policies, both will be progressive and, most likely, beneficial for students next year. Gender-neutral housing is bound to be a crowd-pleaser, and there is no doubt that the diversity policy for Freshmen will forge friendships that may not exist otherwise. Many of us came into our Freshman year at NYU paired with an unlikely candidate that we certainly wouldn’t have met otherwise. But sometimes, something magical comes from these match-ups and these random match-ups live together in subsequent years. But other who have met some of their best friends by finding people online and selecting to live with them are saddened by the chance that future students will miss out on this same opportunity.
With all that in mind, it’s never been uncommon to see some poor kid carting his stuff from Hayden to Weinstein during the third week of classes. So remember, folks, you can always switch it up. Hopefully the new policy will yield positive changes for future roomies of all kinds.