The 2021 spring semester brings more changes to Florida Southern College as FSC welcomes students at full capacity. Due to this adjustment, students are expected to have roommates, and this change is especially new for the freshmen,who are experiencing college roommates for the first time.
Higher education this year is understandably interrupted due to necessary COVID-19 precautions; nothing is normal, therefore the romanticized “college experience” is limited. College roommates are an integral part of this experience. Students adapt to living with a complete stranger and have to navigate differing opinions and lifestyles while developing their own identities.
As a freshman I lived in a quad, and so I find it difficult to separate my first year of college from my experiences with my roommates. They were my first friends, and it was nice to have people to talk to or eat with. Living with people also helps develop open communication about boundaries and manage conflict, which are important skills to have in life. Freshman Mocs have not experienced this potentially wonderful or stressful part of college life, so it will be interesting to see how they adjust.
Roommates were assigned the way they always have been— through a random assignment form or through a specific request between two people. This semester students were also able to request to change their housing before the spring semester.
Freshman Katrina Schell lived in the Miller residence hall building fall semester and was concerned about living alone and possibly spending a lot of time in her room. Once the semester started, she made friends quickly and found that living alone gave her freedom to see them, as well as play guitar or do homework. This semester Schell lives in Wesley, and it will be her first time sharing a room with someone.
“I’ve never had to share a room before, so I’m honestly not sure how to feel,” Schell said. “My only small concern is losing a little bit of privacy, but that hasn’t been a problem yet [because] we’re pretty communicative.”
Overall, Schell does not predict having a roommate will change her semester too much, and she is “excited to see how the semester plays out.”
Resident Advisor (RA) Emma Edgar’s residents live in Joseph Reynolds, and she explains that “RA responsibilities certainly have increased and transformed this year.” In this strange season of life, Edgar says RAs have to enforce new COVID-19 policies regarding room capacity and masks on campus and in residential areas.
“[RAs are] asked to do a lot of the policy upholding both in our residential areas and across campus,” Edgar said. “While the COVID-19 policies are absolutely necessary to ensure we have a safe and fun semester, it can be unclear often [whose] responsibility it is to really enforce them.”
As for the addition of roommates, Edgar can see how roommates could provide a new direct connection for people, especially first-year students who have had less opportunities to meet people. Edgar reflected on her own freshman roommate, explaining she was thankful for their dynamic and to have someone to share freshman experiences with.
“I went through a really tough loss of life my freshman year, and my roommate was there for me even when [I] didn’t share much about it, and having someone so genuinely kind around helped me in more ways than I think she knows,” Edgar said.
Although it is easy to be consumed by the happiness of normalcy and reconnection, Edgar believes students should continue to make safe choices.