New at this- should your kid call the roommate????

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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: New at this- should your kid call the roommate????
By Songman (Songman) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 10:18 am: Edit

So my S received his housing notice with the name,address and phone number of his roommate. In my day you met the roommate on "Move in" day. Is it customary for people to call the roommate to say Hi? The roommate has not called my S yet, but my S is worried about what he would say, etc.

Any comments would be helpful....

By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 10:26 am: Edit

My S got a call from his prospective roommate. They did not say much (mostly b/c S is not much of a talker), but it was a great ice-breaker. Some roommates do exchange info about what they will be bringing so that there is not too much duplication. But just saying Hi is great.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 10:39 am: Edit

I can't say whether he should or not but I think it is a great idea and might think he'd want to! My daughter got her roommate assignment a week ago. She called the other girl up. At first she got the mother as the daughter was at work and the mom talked to my D for a bit and also mentioned how her daughter had just returned from being away all summer and just saw the note of the roomie assignment and also was hoping to get in touch. (As an aside....after I heard my D have this long conversation with that other mom, I remarked that she would KILL me if I talked to her roomie first before she did and she acknowleged that I was right. But of course she did not mind one bit chatting with the other mom who asked her about herself, etc.!)

Then the girl called my D back that night and they spoke for an hour and had a great conversation. Some of it was getting to know one another. They found they had a few things in common....both played three sports and played instruments, for instance. While my daughter is the country girl and the other girl grew up right in a city, and my daughter attended public school and the other girl went to a private K-12 school, they ended up hitting it off well on the phone. They also discussed a little of who was bringing what. Then they exchanged email addresses and I think they have written each other back and forth.

I recommend this approach. At the very least, it is an introduction. Also, there is the logistics of who brings what (ie., fridge, rug, etc.) and they can discuss if they want to select some things together once they arrive (for example, these two discussed getting the rug there and decorating the room once they are there). The other girl had not bought her bedding or stuff like that yet and even asked my D what color scheme her stuff was. The main thing, however, was that they broke the ice, found that they liked one another at this preliminary stage (not like they have lived with each other), and it will not be as awkward upon arrival. I think most kids would welcome their roomie giving a call. I think that is why colleges send this information out ahead of time, along with contact information. Otherwise, they would expect you to just find out as you arrive.


By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 10:42 am: Edit

Based on past observation, I think the girls are more likely to contact the roommate than the boys. However, I would encourage your son to either call or send a postcard--just to be friendly.

By Archermom (Archermom) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 10:55 am: Edit

My D has been assigned a room in a suite. The class roster came out about a month ago...and she has contacted, via email and IM, her 3 suitemates. Better yet, D has also connected with many from her 1st yr class. She is definitely excited about leaving on Saturday!

By Texas137 (Texas137) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 11:27 am: Edit

I also think that girls are more likely to make contact than boys. They are generally better at chatting, and more likely to care about things like color scheme. There may also be differences in whether boys vs girls are looking for friendship from their roommate, or simply compatible habits.

We have a year to go, but frankly, I can't see my son making a call to the prospective roommate. I can't even see him having much of a conversation if the roommate calls him. Like Marite's son, he isn't much of a talker. He's been to a lot of summer programs that involved roommates, and always met the roommate there after he arrived. I could see him possibly emailing, if the contact info includes an email address.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 11:33 am: Edit

Texas ...your kid has to do what he feels comfortable with. If calling the prospective roommate is too uncomfortable, I would not force it. Like you said, email might be easier for him. My D's college only provided phone numbers, not email (though they have now exchanged theirs on the phone). My daughter was comfortable with calling the other girl and the other girl seemed comfortable talking as well. It really had very little to do with the room and more just getting to know each other. They talked of the excitement of going to the college, stuff they participated in, what they did all summer, and so forth.

My kids never spoke to new roommates at summer programs ahead of time either but this just seems like a bigger thing than a summer roomie thing. But again, your kid has to want to make contact and you really cannot force it. Mine wanted to and apparently the other girl did too and would have called first I think if she had not just gotten home for summer.


By Montmammoth (Montmammoth) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 11:38 am: Edit

My daughter started the conversation with the roommate via Email. It's a little easier than a phone call for people who aren't naturally chatty.

After a few emails it was easier for her to call, and now they're chatting a good bit. It looks like she'll be a good match

By Clipper (Clipper) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 11:56 am: Edit

My daughter got to choose her roommate via a living preference program. Quite interesting. They seem to hit it off bc they both have the same goals as far as their future and the seriousness of spending a lot of money for college and making sure they do well.

She is from California so my d is excited about having a different perspective.

By Jenniferpa (Jenniferpa) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 12:14 pm: Edit

My daughter was not at all keen to talk to her prospective roomate on the phone, although she did want to coordinate major purchases. Eventually, she did call, only to find that the girl was away on vacation. Whoever answered the phone took D's phone number and said that they would get this roomie to call, but she hasn't heard anything yet. The problem now is that having made the first approach, D is unwilling to call again. I suggested calling again since the message may not have got to the roomate (D thought the message was taken by a sibling, and we all know how reliable they can be), but she's not budging so far. To be honest, it's coloring her perceptions of this roomate, although she recognises that that is unreasonable. She's dreading this whole sharing a room thing anyway. I just wish the school would provide e-mail addresses because that would be a lot stressful.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 12:45 pm: Edit

I just wanted to add that my observation is that this contact and friendly conversation kinda relieves a little anxiety about who is this roomie and the unknown factor the day you arrive. I think this contact has added to the excitement in fact. My D has recently gotten on a Yahoo group of pre-frosh at her college and has been in email contact for several weeks with a few kids and it almost does not matter if she ever becomes friends with them once on campus, they have this stuff in common and can chat about what is ahead. I would imagine they might choose to meet when they arrive. Also someone gave my daughter the name of a girl in our state who is going to her school and my daughter arranged to meet up with her for lunch and also is emailing now with her. My daughter even waited on a customer at the restaurant she works at (we have a LOT of tourists and second home owners in our community) and this person thought my daughter looked like her sister (everyone thinks that) and so recognized her a little and said their daughter used to ski in a program with my other kid and anyway, they had a friend heading to my D's college and they gave the contact information and now my D is also communicating with that kid. So, these contacts recently have added to the excitement. Also it is not like local friends are going to the same college so it is nice to connect with others who have this common bond, even if they do not become friends once on campus. The roomie thing kinda falls in that same category but it is a little more important as they will have to live together. I, for one, was excited to hear the other girl likes sports and music which meant they had something in common, not that they have to be alike totally. It kinda takes the "wondering" edge off.


By Sybbie719 (Sybbie719) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 02:17 pm: Edit


Are you sure that my child isn't one of your long lost children?

She made initial contact with her room mate via the facebook, then IM. My daughter as you know is from a small public H.S. in NYC. Her roommate is from a small Quaker School in rural Mass. However they have a lot in common, found a lot to talk about and are excited about the prospect of living together. They agreed to purchase common things for the room from Walmart which is going to be an adventure because my child has never been to Walmart (I know it is a NYC thing -they just opened on recently on L.I.) Daughter even e-mailed the person who had their room the previous year to "get the scoop on their room".

She is also part of the '08s on the Yahoo group with her school and many of them have been communicating since early april. In addition, she has some friends from Live Journal who are going to school with her. Their school also has a discussion page within their website for the 08 so a lot of conversations have been going on since friday (when the majority if the kids got their housing assignments)with people looking for their roommates an and wanting to know who else is living in their dorm. someone has even started a fantasy football league with the draft being held on sunday. She is excited about going. Now if some of that excitement could be transferred to packing her stuff!

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 03:32 pm: Edit

Sybbie, wow, they do sound similar....too bad my D and yours are not roomies, lol! My daughter only joined the Yahoo group and stuff like that once school got out but I am glad she has had these contacts as it adds to the excitement plus just to connect with others in the same boat. That is so cool that your D chatted with those who had that room in the past!

I can think of just where your D is going to shop. She is the one going to Dartmouth, right? She will likely go to Lebanon, NH to shop for this stuff, as that is where bigger stores are located. That is about five miles down the road from Hanover. You know what? When I first moved to VT back in '81, I lived for two years in Woodstock, which is part of that general community where Dartmouth is located, which is referred to as the Upper Valley. In fact, I taught elem. school in Lebanon, NH and it was the same elem school that my mother-in-law went to as a child! (She does not live in that state now).

It is funny how your Ds roomie situation is a little like my daughter's. She is the rural kid and her roomie is from Chicago, the city, not the burbs, as is the situation with your daughter's roommate. I think it is all rather cool. I have a good gut feeling with it and she does too. Sounds similar in your case.

If you ever come up this way and wanna get together, I am game. I realize you would be visiting your D but you never know. I live maybe 1 1/4 hours from Dartmouth now (no longer live near it as I did over 20 years ago).


By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 04:27 pm: Edit

My daughter tracked down her roommate's phone number and called her. Chatted with her mother once and then finally connected after a couple days of phone tag.

As I understand it, they had a nice phone chat and have exchanged e-mails and photos this week. I think that sort of thing is very positive. Communication with classmates can go a long way towards changing trepidation into excitement. To me, the more contact with the college ahead of time, the better.

Her roommate is preparing to fly three thousand miles away from her West Coast home. If I were her parents, I would be extra happy to have an East Coast roommate show enough interest to call.

It's funny. Her roommate had requested an East Coast roommate and was happy to find out my D is from Massachusetts. Teased her about not having a hardcore Boston accent, though!

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 04:50 pm: Edit

Actually, I just thought of one thing my daughter shared. One girl she "met" through the '08 Yahoo group for her school, who has emailed back and forth...lives in southeastern Mass and told my daugther that her parents offered for us to all stay at their house the night before the kids have to move in (as they are not that far from RI where the college is located)! That was pretty shocking! I don't even know them. But we have had hotel reservations for a long while and now my D is supposed to attend a meeting for varsity athletes the night before move in day so I think we will go right to Providence (and dad has not seen her college yet either!). Then we will be there first thing in the morning to unload. But isn't that the nicest gesture? She mentioned something else along these lines too that I forget now.

The fact that we are east coast, and four hours from the college, might be nice for her roomie who is from Chicago as she may like to come here when there is a very short break. She seems to love the outdoors and related stuff like that so maybe our being from Vermont will be nice for her.


By Pafather (Pafather) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 04:50 pm: Edit

My son's roommate called and they spoke for maybe 10 or 15 minutes. They had been at the college the same weekend last April for a scholarship interview, so had briefly seen each other (but not met) previously. They discussed hours they keep (both get up quite early), sports they had participated in, and POLITICS. They were very relieved to find out both are conservative republicans. While my son is certainly willing to engage in heated discussions with people of various political beliefs and even enjoys good-natured ribbing, he is glad he will be able to let his guard down and relax in his own dorm room, especially with the upcoming election. As his future roommate said, "I thought it was going to be a LONG fall semester."

By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 05:43 pm: Edit


What a nice family! My H is good friends with his college roommate still, and we got to know the parents well also. We occasionally go visit them in their summer house (whose porch my H helped build about 30 years ago)

By Songman (Songman) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 06:27 pm: Edit

Hey thanks everyone. Will pass info on to my son. Might be worth it for him to call the roommate. Now getting him to pick up the phone will be a battle I'm sure...... Thanks to all for your advice!

By Alongfortheride (Alongfortheride) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 06:59 pm: Edit

It was a little different for us. Tulane has a roommate finder that allows interested kids to hook up online and find someone they would like to room with. I think it really works in reverse when they use something like this. They find out a lot of stuff about the roommate and their habits before they sign up for each other. It has taken some of the apprehension out of it for my son. He has no idea what his roommate sounds like because they have done everything via email and IMing. But, they'e been working out the logistics of who will bring what for the room.

By Nel (Nel) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 07:07 pm: Edit

8/12: Hello SONGMAN:
I have a son who will be a Sr in HS this fall. Daughter is leaving for college in 3 weeks. I seriously doubt my SON will contact his Roomie prior to Move In day...I just think it's a Guy thing. Now my DD, she IM'd and USPS mailed her Roomie & then they met at the dorm room on Roomie day, last week. But, I think that's a Girl thing. But, to each his own...they'll work it out! PEACE ~Nel

By Thedad (Thedad) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 03:33 am: Edit

D called her roommate, got her on the first try, and they talked for over an hour. *So* much in common.
Got down to talking about color schemes for their room and who is going to bring/buy what along the lines of refrigerator/TV/DVD player.

Roomie lives about two hours from the college, a big plus for my California D.

By Mom2003 (Mom2003) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 05:05 am: Edit

I have been informed by reliable sources (two boys who are rising sophomores) that girls always call their roommates and coordinate stuff. Boys just show up and take what they get.

My S was relieved to hear this. And I thought pink and blue clothing was the only thing this foreign born mom had to learn about!

By Dg5052 (Dg5052) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 11:23 am: Edit

Not always, Mom2003--my S, currently a rising sophomore, called his roommate last summer--the kid didn't call back for a few days, and S decided it would be too lame to call AGAIN, but his roomie finally did call back. They had very little discussion.

Actually, the entire first month or so of school, they had very little discussion--then they suddenly became good friends, pledged the same fraternity, and are roomies again this year. Boys--go figure!

By Texas137 (Texas137) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 12:34 pm: Edit

Dg5052 - even though your son and his roomie did speak briefly, it sounds pretty minimal. Getting back to the original poster who has a son, I think the general concensus here is that girls call and coodinate, but boys either don't call or do call and don't talk much. If his son really doesn't want to call, he shouldn't feel like he is "supposed" to. And if the son doesn't hear from the other boy, he shouldn't take that as a bad sign.

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