Coming in as a freshman last semester, I had this weird obsession with finding the perfect roommate. I wanted to be comfortable walking in and out of my room, having people over, studying and most importantly, not having to walk on eggshells. The one thing Stony Brook did well was promote social media to contact other incoming students. I used Facebook, GroupMe and more to meet new faces and get an idea of who I would be seeing in my quad daily. Through the power of social media (thanks Stony Brook), I found the perfect roommate, whom I still room with this semester.
After picking our building and such, we received a surprise in late June. A third roommate was listed in our room. Don’t misjudge me now – I love engaging with new people and personalities. The main problem I had was that I was not notified in any way about the additional roommate. It wasn’t until I was looking on the housing portal to confirm information that I saw that third name listed. Choosing corridor style, I knew there was a possibility of this, but I thought I would have at least received some notification.
Now that there were three of us in the room, I expected the university to accommodate all of our needs with closet spaces, desks, etc. When I walked into this shoebox of a room having that “freshman face of excitement,” I was astonished by how tiny my new home was. I saw a bottom and top bunk, a single bunk bed, two desks, two closet spaces, two dressers and a face of disappointment. I was not notified until move-in day that the three of us had to share everything. To make this nightmare even more excruciating, it wasn’t until right after Thanksgiving break that we got a detriple offer.
Especially with girls, we have a lot of stuff. A double room in my quad is 176 square feet. If you do the math, that’s about 58.7 square feet per person, aka the size of a large dog kennel. The space slowly became more cramped, especially because of my habit of being a little messy. This habit would sometimes cause my belongings to suffuse with my roommates’ clutter. I found myself feeling so small when all three of us were in the room at the same time. It wasn’t until when we got detripled that I finally felt like I had truly moved in. I didn’t have to be too careful of where I put my things anymore. Having one shirt on the floor or my books spread out didn’t make the whole room crowded or overwhelming. I didn’t feel pressure to share more space because there wasn’t enough furniture for everyone.
Living in a cramped shoe box for almost an entire semester was unacceptable, and I expected better from such a highly ranked university. I understand that we do have a load of residents – 10,204 undergraduate and graduate combined to be exact. However, there has to be a better system to prevent students from having to live on top of each other.
Even if the university can’t do that much, at least make us all equals. Give us an equal amount of furniture. Give us a fair message that another roommate has been added to our room, instead of having me take the extra step to see for myself. If we can’t go as far as this, get us detripled quicker. I don’t understand how I had to wait three whole months for a detriple offer but once it was made, my roommate was forced to move out in four days.
I was trapped in this stuffy hole for three months. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who’s been through this, but I may be one of the only people speaking up about it. I’m two hours from home, so you don’t see me on the Long Island Rail Road every weekend. Coming to Stony Brook meant I was moving into a new home. I expected a home that was comfortable, open and my money’s worth, not a home that was cramped beyond my control.