Then and Now: Meeting Your Freshman Roommate

Then and Now: Meeting Your Freshman Roommate
old then and now sept 08

Freshmen used to arrive on campus knowing nothing about the person with whom they’d be living.

For years, the excitement of heading off to college was tempered with the anxiety concerning who you’d be sharing a tiny dorm room with for the next nine months. What would that randomly selected roommate look like? Would the two of you get along? What if he or she were (gasp!) a nerd?

Prior to moving into the Lakehouse as a freshman, Joe Calamoneri ’66 knew nothing about his roommate—not even a name. Their first interaction came on Move-in Day in the fall of 1962.

Things were only slightly different for Deitra (Roessner) Quinn ’88. Just prior to moving into Cromwell Hall in 1984, she was able to get her roommate-to-be’s name and phone number, and the two spoke briefly before moving in together.

“Luckily we got along pretty well, pretty quickly,” Deitra said. The two still keep in touch. Still, Deitra admits to being somewhat anxious in the days leading up to Move-in about whom she would be living with.

Times have changed, and today’s incoming freshmen are likely to know everything concerning their roomie-to-be long before Move-in Day. That’s the beauty of facebook®.

Greg Boyle ’11 can attest to this. Several months prior to moving into Wolfe Hall in 2007, Greg joined hundreds of his future classmates in a TCNJ facebook® group. Current TCNJ students used the site’s message boards to share nuggets of wisdom with the newbies, including how to find a freshman room assignment online—well before the College sends any official paperwork.

new then now sept 08

These days, thanks to facebook®, first-year students spend the summer getting to know each other long before actually meeting in person on Move-in Day.

With some online sleuthing (again, thanks to facebook®), Greg found his roommate, saw what his likes and dislikes were, what his political views were, where he was from, and just about everything else he wanted to know. The two corresponded online in the months leading up to Move-in Day, gradually getting to know each other.

“It put me a lot more at ease that I had a sense of who my roommate was, and knowing that I was not going into this totally blind,” Greg said.

Yet while technology has eased the anxiety of heading off to college, the trappings of technology have made Freshman Move-in Day that much more physically stressful. After all, there is just so much stuff an incoming freshman has to pack these days!

Joe brought only a radio and some clothes, packed neatly in a single steamer trunk. Deitra brought the same items, though she and her roommate rented a refrigerator once they arrived on campus.

Nowadays, freshmen bring every gadget under the sun: televisions, stereos, computers, refrigerators, microwaves, Playstations®, Xboxes, iPods, digital cameras—the list goes on and on. Whatever the latest and greatest piece of gear is, freshmen pack it.

“It’s probably harder now to move in because we have so much stuff,” admitted Greg. “The elevators and the hallways get backed up on Move-in Day because everyone is bringing so much with them.”

But at least current freshmen don’t have to worry about rushing upstairs to meet their roommate. Chances are, they already know them pretty well.

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