Thinking Out Loud

November 13, 2009

College Roommate Advice Wanted

Okay, truth time.   I grew up in a major city and was a commuter student during all four years of university.   Only towards the end of my senior year did I realize what I was missing.   Too little, too late.

So I wanted my son to have the complete experience and a late aunt was kind enough to remember Kid One in her will, paving the way for at least a year of residence.

A pre-admittance survey asked for personality preferences, and Kid One mentioned that he is fairly quiet and likes to retire for bed somewhat early, especially by college standards.   The idea was he would be given a roommate with similar likes and dislikes.

He was.

Words like reticent and taciturn don’t begin to describe the situation.  But then, Kid One noticed the guy was making connections with other people, but only engaging in the most essential communication when in the dorm room with my son.    Like maybe less than 200 words so far this semester.

What’s with that?

REJECTIONWhat started out as a personality trait is now emerging as rejection.   And that’s not a nice thing to do to anybody.

So to those of you who have been in the situation:  How do you get a very withdrawn and possibly hostile roommate to open up?   How do you break the ice?   Is mid-November past the point of trying?

And of course the related question:  As parents, how do you go from being ‘copied in’ on everything at the elementary and high school level to being on the sidelines once your kid enters university or college?    My son’s a nice guy.   I just want to call up his roommate and tell him that.

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1 Comment »

  1. hey, paul.

    my son graduated from college in 2002. he was an athlete and is not especially gregarious. his circle of relationships started small and grew until his senior year when he served as an r.a. (resident assistant – kind of a manager for the floor). interestingly, he prided himself in befriending underclassmen and established many great relationships.

    the great thing about living in the dorm is that there are lots of guys next door/across the hall and there are ample opportunities to engage strangers, even for an introvert (or even if one’s roommate is a jerk). i would encourage your son to see his roommate as the one with the problem, and look for friends elsewhere in the dorm.

    as for being “copied in,” i can only tell you what my wife and i did. we resolved to “enjoy” the view from the sidelines. we had been very involved during his high school career (as i’m sure you and your wife were) and we determined to trust our investment, consider him “launched,” and let him decide how much to tell us about his life. as it happens, he continued to include us and rely on us, but it never felt forced. you guys did a great job of raising your son. let him have his space and i bet you’ll be surprised at how much he shares his life with you.

    Comment by randy morgan — November 13, 2009 @ 11:54 pm


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