He, She, and Phe: Roommate Assignments


Hello prospective students, confused current students, and lost surfers of the web. Welcome to He, She, and Phe: Dorm Life at Brown, where I address your questions about the most ubiquitous aspect of college living. My name is Justin Ferenzi, and I’m here to help shine some light on the rollercoaster ride that is dorm life.

Going into college, the prospect of living with another human being can be a little daunting. Especially if you’ve never had to share a room before, it can be tricky to navigate the ethics of shared space. While I plan to go into more depth about the roommate process later on, today I’ll start with a brief overview of the roommate assignment process, which, in all honesty, always comes off as a bit ambiguous until you go through it.

Brown’s roommate assignment process is totally random, and a little nerve wracking. You answer a brief survey about your study habits, daily routine, and general preferences, send it off to ResLife in early June, and wait.

The wait is long. Your friends will be picking their roommates, or hearing back about their assignments, long before you will. Brown is either masterful at procrastination or very thorough, because you really won’t know who your roommate is until a few weeks before school starts.

Once you find out, you begin the awkward dance of making contact. Facebook messages, texts, and e-mails are all pretty common (I’d recommend against a phone call). You make plans, coordinate color schemes, and hardcore internet stalk them until move-in day.

Most of the people I’ve met and talked to have a great relationship with their roommate. It could take some time adjusting, and you may never become best friends, but the majority of pairs get alone really well. And on the off-chance that you and your roommate don’t mesh well, you have two weeks to request a change with ResLife. You can also request changes for other reasons, too. One guy transferred to my floor after discovering that the slower-paced life at Andrews wasn’t quite for him. You can always work to make the situation adapt to fit you.

Even though Brown’s roommate assignment process may seem arbitrary, and you will have to wait in anxious agony for a few months, they really do a great job at making the whole process work.

I’ll talk more about actual life with roommates in the weeks to come!

When Justin Ferenzi isn’t blogging, he’s obsessively refreshing his email account for blogging-related correspondence. For any and all questions about dorm life at Brown, don’t hesitate to send a message to justin_ferenzi@brown.edu


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