The Shaft
Article Image
@vampire_weakend / via Instagram

Spectrum will be producing content on The Shaft from now until housing selection in early April. If at any time you have questions about The Shaft or about housing selection at Barnumbia, let us know and we’ll do our best to answer them.

With the arrival of housing selection season, many Barnumbians are looking to their rooming situation next year. If you’re looking for that suite life and aren’t coming in with the perfectly-sized Columbia or Barnard clan, the jitters about who will join you next year arise.

For Barnard students looking to fill gaps in their suites, or to join other groups, committing to living with others for a whole year oftentimes poses a daunting challenge. And while CC and SEAS students already had to make their groups, some are looking to get to know their future roomies better, and whether to make the choice to split or stick together.

To ensure that you and your future roomies don’t have a Brad-and-Jen sized split, it’s important to ask the right questions beforehand.

Which Harry Potter house are you in and why?

Even those uncultured souls like myself who have never seen nor read Harry Potter know which house they would belong in. While this may not end up being a make-or-break for your relationship, it’s definitely a good sign as to what you’re getting yourself into.

Slytherins should definitely look out for Gryffindors (major personality clash, you’ll both be high-key passive aggressive about the tiniest things). Hufflepuffs get along with everyone, so they have the least to worry about. Ravenclaws are also gucci—they’ll be so busy studying you’ll rarely have to talk to them.

Be weary of that Slytherin over there, Potter.

What’s the most memorable class you’ve taken here?

Not only can this help you with your course planning for next semester, but this question can also lead into an interesting conversation on majors, classes, workloads, and studying habits. Keep in mind that if you absorb other people’s stress, having a stressed-out 20-credit-taking roommate could actually have an effect on you.

What helps you relax at the end of a long day?

What somebody does with their downtime is oftentimes a big key to their personality as a whole and what it might be like to live with them. Bonus points if you memorize their answer to this so you can comfort them in the future at the end of a long day.

If you could eat at only one Barnumbia dining hall for the entire year, which would it be?

We all know that each dining hall has a different ~vibe~ to it. Your potential roomie’s dining choice can say a lot about their ideal environment, which location they’d like to live near next year, how busy they like their environment to be, and, of course, what kinds of food they enjoy most.

Would you rather vacation in Alaska or Hawaii?

This is likely to give you a glimpse into what temperature they would prefer your room be. Somebody who prefers the temperature of the gates of Hell probably won’t work best sleeping in the same room as somebody who prefers the Antarctic chill.

What’s the longest consecutive amount of time you’ve spent in Butler?

This one can be a good indicator of how often this roomie will be in your room. If your potential roommate camps out in Butler during exam season, you can count on your double potentially becoming a dingle. This can also inform you of their stress levels and rigor of course load.

What’s your favorite family recipe?

If you end up in a suite with a kitchen, you’ll want to know if your roomies plan on using the kitchen every day, or watching dust collect on the appliances. If you end up with a chef who’s willing to share their creations with you, it could definitely have an influence on your meal plan choice (if you didn’t already choose).

Who’s your mentor? (or for Barnard gals: who did you write about for your powerful woman supplement?)

Many people try to live their lives according to their future goals. Knowing who somebody wants to model their life after can help you understand how they handle challenges (especially roommate conflicts), how they want to get involved, and how they want to be treated.

WWere Ross and Rachel on a break?

Just because I’m really interested in other people's’ opinions about this.

The key to any successful relationship is honest and open communication. No matter if you’re best friends or strangers with your future roommate, be open to all the possibilities of a new year and new conditions. In the end, whether or not you want a roommate and who that roommate may be is a personal decision that should be made for one’s own happiness and prosperity.

Got any other roomie-vetting suggestions? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat @CUSpectrum.

Mariella Evangelista is a Spectrum staff writer and a Barnard first year. None of her roommates have proven to be serial killers (...yet). Reach her at

housing roommate
From Around the Web