The end of the academic year is rapidly approaching and students are faced with an array of emotional troubles. For some, the stress of starting a summer internship might be an increasing source of uneasiness, while others find themselves fully plagued by the reality of entering the alleged “real world.” In fact, students are already experiencing anxiety-inducing situations in the form of housing selection.
While a seemingly trivial and possibly overlooked stressor in comparison to starting a career, General Room Selection (GRS) numbers and housing selection have created a campus-wide panic time and time again. The stakes seem to get higher for students every year, with an increasing number of group sizes and living options to choose from. The often-difficult task of choosing a housemate or roommate is no longer the hardest part, for now students must be strategic in their planning decisions.
Every year, housing has brought a new set of challenges to navigate. My freshman year, I let the system determine my fate and was randomly paired with a roommate. To this day, I do not understand how incoming freshman orchestrate online roommate pairings without knowing the other person in advance. I was way too terrified and socially awkward to secure a roommate before my arrival at Wes, and in retrospect I am thankful I did not. I was lucky enough to get a double in Bennet Hall my freshman year and got along with my roommate well.
Sophomore-year housing brought an entirely new set of anxieties; students have the option to enter as doubles and actually live with their friends. I was constantly warned about how I didn’t want to live with “too close of a friend.” What the hell does that mean? I understand this statement in theory, but this seems to encourage an uncomfortable understanding between roommates of being mediocre friends. Registering for GRS as a pair is incredibly stressful as your friends slowly pair off, meanwhile you are still searching for that perfect roommate that is the desired balance of not too close but friendly enough. I ignored all of this and entered with one of my best friends, and we defied the odds and made it through the year with our friendship unscathed.
Junior-year group selection and housing was even messier, for you could enter as a group of two to five. In fact, there seems to be a correlation between stress levels and group sizes to choose from. Not only do you and your friends have to choose what living space you all desire the most, but also must divide your friend group to accommodate this living preference. This is only heightened for rising seniors as they can form groups anywhere from two to six people. GRS has become a strategic process, where, unfortunately, group size must be accounted for.
Point boosts further complicate the housing selection processes, allowing select groups to score the top GRS numbers. As a first-year in the school year of 2012-2013, point boosts seemed to be relatively commonplace, specifically to compensate for the over-enrollment of the class of 2015. Students in forced first-year triples or students placed in summer housing were almost always awarded with a point boost for the upcoming year. As we now see, point boosts are becoming more and more obsolete in the Wesleyan housing process, and rightfully so. There is no longer a clear standard to warrant who should and should not receive point boosts. With the over-enrollment of the class of 2015, there has been a trickle-down effect of bad housing. There are simply not enough spaces to accommodate the student population appropriately. The standard outlining point boosts in no longer clearly definable. In the most recent GRS rankings, many of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity members, formerly residing in the closed Beta House, were awarded point boosts as compensation for the upcoming year. Granting a point boost in this situation is questionable due to the tremendous weight that these point boosts have within the ranking system, as they are no longer routine. Point boosts offer an indisputable advantage during GRS, only allowing the fraternity brothers to control social spaces once again. Point boosts no longer justly remedy unfair housing situations and have solely become a point of controversy for the Wesleyan community.
Wesleyan should move away from a system of point boosts, creating an algorithm that accounts for previous year rankings. Point boosts are subjective and are currently granted where they seem fit; an algorithm will allow for a more accurate ranking system. Other alternatives that would create a more just ranking system might be to factor in the SJB point systems and suspensions as well.
GRS rankings and housing selection can be incredibly stressful, for all students inevitably want a good living situation with their friends. Besides the select exempt few who are residing in program housing or studying abroad in the fall, everyone is subject to this GRS ranking system. Our rank determines where we will live and sometimes even whom we will live with. I have been fortunate enough to do well every year with my GRS ranking, but have seen the effects of its victims. Housing is a large part of Wesleyan and it is important that the system determining our housing is fully fair and accommodating.
Majewski is a member of the class of 2016.