Sharing a room with a roommate is one of the most stressful parts of attending boarding school. Will they snore? Will they keep our room too messy? Will they listen to different music than me? What if their feet smell? These fears are valid (your roommate will probably be different than you and may have smelly feet), but we want to reassure you the opportunity for personal growth and the formation of deep friendships makes having a roommate one of the most valuable experiences you will have at Proctor.
We know not all roommates are created equal, but our Admissions and Student Life teams do their best to pair each incoming student with a roommate of similar interests and living habits. Some students choose to change roommates after their first year, while others keep the same roommate for their entire time at Proctor. What we know based on experience is your roommate will teach you valuable lessons about life that will serve you well in the world beyond Proctor. Here are four lessons we believe you’ll learn from your roommate.
1. You Learn to Compromise
Despite the best efforts of our Residential Life Coordinator, Kyle Tremblay, and Admissions Team, you will not get a clone of yourself as your roommmate. You will have shared interests on which your relationship will build, but inevitably there will be moments where compromise is essential. Learning to give and take, to find middle ground, is a skill foreign to many teenagers; one that will serve you incredibly well in life.
2. You Learn to Share
You may start by sharing your ramen noodles, but over time you will learn to trust your roommate with more important things than your food. Sharing your material possessions opens the door to a sharing your aspirations, fears, and nervous tendencies. Having someone in your life (regardless of your age) to share both the material and immaterial with is far more important than you may think.
3. You Learn to Appreciate Different Cultures and Types of People
One of the greatest advantages of attending boarding school is the exposure to different cultures and a diverse group of students. Eva ‘17 eloquently articulates the impact her roommates have had on her over the past few years, “I have had roommates from many different cultures. The diversity within each of these groups has taught me to respect other’s cultures and to better understand why others may do things differently than I have do. These relationships I have developed have also shown me how brave international students are to travel to another country to pursue a better education.”
4. You Learn To Be a Self-Advocate
Developing into a self-advocate is one of the greatest gifts a Proctor education provides its students. Understanding and communicating your needs in the classroom, on the athletic field, and, especially in a dormitory setting allows you to fully embrace the first three lessons mentioned above. When you know yourself, you are better able to compromise, share, and appreciate others.
So put those nightmares to rest and get excited about your roommate this year! You will be forced outside your comfort zone at times, and that is a good thing. You may be encouraged to be a bit more tidy (or messy). You may have to share your food and may have to wait for a shower to open in the morning, but you will learn many lessons from living with your roommate!