Wednesday, April 7, 2010

#80: Room Pick Drama

Because the dorm system at Notre Dame operates in a distinctive way (see #79), the respective dorms use unique procedures to determine which students live in which rooms.  While incoming Freshmen are randomly assigned to dorms, sections, and roommates; the rest of the student body must endure the overly dramatic tensions surrounding room picks as they attempt to ensure they get the room situation they desire.

While the dorm system fosters camaraderie amongst residents, it also leads to these residents wanting to live with or near the people whom they most often socialize.* In many dorms this creates smaller sections within the dorm that members want to stay in from year to year or potentially move into.  These sections, however, only have a certain number and type of rooms; and these limitations create tension amongst residents and potential residents.

When room picks arrive each spring, the dorms are entrenched with drama from a variety of sources. Drama can result from the picks themselves.  Because a lottery system is used to determine the order the residents pick their room, whole sections of dorms might pressure residents to choose rooms in other sections.  These students want to preserve rooms for their friends with lower picks and can sometimes lead to heated arguments between friends and hall mates. 

Drama can also result from conflicts within dorms about which residents get the most prized rooms like the Quint in Sorin or various sized quads across campus.  Since larger, more dynamic rooms are the ones that host parties and other events, many students want to live in them.  Students that want to live in these quads might not have the high room picks that are necessary to obtain them, however; and may resort to bargains or unsavory deals with other residents in order to get the room they desire.

Room pick drama most often (and most importantly) manifests itself by the simple task of everybody in the dorm trying to find a roommate.  Room picks force students to choose one person that they want to be their roommate, and usually result in another friend being left out.  The weeks leading up to room picks (for better or worse) are when students find out who their real friends are, and this heightens tensions throughout the dorms.

Finally, all of these elements come together in one night when the rooms are actually picked.  On this overly dramatic occasion some students make deals or strong arm people, some plot to take the quad that other students were planning to choose, and other students stand off to the side no knowing if they will find a roommate for the next year. 

Room pick drama throws Notre Dame Students into the midst of hyper-dramatic situations (see #19) that make nice people turn mean and timid people get angry; and for all of these reasons why Notre Dame Students shouldn’t like room picks, most students couldn’t imagine dorm life without them.

*Well, at least in the men’s dorms.  Women’s dorms don’t have as much camaraderie because Notre Dame Girls aren’t really friends with each other, and therefore don’t care as much about who they live with.


  1. Wow, really? Although I have great friends from other dorms, I think there is a great sense of camaraderie in female dorms. My best friends are the girls who lived on my floor freshman year, even after graduating.

  2. The girls here are friends... they just don't bond to the same degree as ND guys. It's really still a boy's club in every sense. The guys' dorms are frats, the girls' dorms are... residence halls.

  3. *Maybe you should just change the name of this blog to "Things Notre Dame Guys and Saint Mary's Girls Like", because that's really all you seem write about...

  4. The Quint's heirs are chosen - I guess there is drama over people competing for it though.

  5. Why do you keep hating on ND girls? seriously...

  6. I am an ND alumna, class of '82. One of my BFF's is my freshman year roommate from Lewis Hall. She lives in California and I live in NY. So ND women do form strong lasting friendships that transcend time and distance.