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Finding common ground

Cindy Ramunno
Preston Utley/Vail Daily
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Getting a roommate you don’t know in college used to be a crap shoot. Now, with Living Learning Communities (LLCs) and personality questions, the odds are better.

Most colleges and universities at the very least ask specific questions to place students with like-minded peers. Do you smoke? Would you prefer a substance-free room? Do you prefer to stay up past 11 p.m.? Do you prefer your room to be neat or organized? Those are some of the questions found on freshmen housing applications across the state and throughout the nation.

At the bigger universities, LLCs help incoming freshmen succeed academically and socially by placing them with those with the same academic majors or personal interests. A few of those universities take it a step further and give those students a chance to take a few courses right in your hall to enhance the college experience.

Battle Mountain High School senior Kori Landauer is currently going through the dorm roommate selection process. Landauer, who will graduate with a 4.0 GPA, will study business next fall at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB).

Landauer has answered the questions on her housing questionnaire and won’t know who her roommate will be until this summer. She’s not worried about any conflicts that may arise. “There will always be conflict ” that’s a part of life,” says Landauer. “Learning to deal with problems is growing up.”

In Santa Barbara, LLCs promote themes through programs and activities. Halls there include the Quiet Hall, promoting an intensive study environment; the Outdoor Adventure Hall, which allows students to easily organize camping, hiking and climbing trips; and the Performing and Creative Arts Hall, where artists, dancers, musicians, writers and others live. There are a total of 17 different choices for incoming freshmen.

Closer to home, at Colorado State University, there are halls dedicated to everything from Engineering to Living Green.

Landauer’s advice is to answer the questionnaire truthfully. “Be honest. If your room is a mess, don’t lie and say you love to pick up your dirty laundry. Otherwise, you may get caught rooming with someone who truly loves to fold clothing!”

Teachers at BMHS think Kori will be a great roommate for anyone. “She interjects humor and grace into everyday tasks, and she is honest and forthcoming,” says Dana Zilliox. “Kori’s future roommate needn’t fear this fun-loving and gifted young woman.”

Zilliox adds that Landauer’s sense of humor and laid-back persona will make her an ideal roommate. “Unlike some of my personal college roommate stories (the kind you hear about and consider paying extra for the single room), Kori will be a supportive, enjoyable, and most importantly mentally and emotionally sound roomie.”

Landauer thinks the best advice she’s received has been from teachers Dave Cope and Pat Phelan. “Mr. Phelan told us that high school would fly by, and he really wasn’t kidding. Don’t wish it away or take it for granted. Pretty soon, mom’s cooking will only come on holidays,” says Landauer. “Mr. Cope gave me an article about Kay Yow, the women’s basketball coach at North Carolina State that had an awesome quote: ‘Don’t drown in self pity. Swish your feet a little, then get out!'”

That positive attitude is sure to make Landauer’s new roommate, whomever that may be, feel right at home. Landauer is excited to meet new people, and is happy with her decision to go with a stranger for a roommate. “You need to give yourself a chance to feel really uncomfortable and vulnerable. That is the only way you will ever grow.”


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