We are thrilled that you have chosen to live and learn at LeTourneau University! Our alumni continue to share with us just how much God has blessed them through the relationships they developed during their time here. And while it would be typical for you to build relationships with students all over campus, there is no doubt that how you interact with your roommate will significantly impact your entire LETU experience. The best part: as you get to know your roommate, you will also be getting to know yourself in a whole new way.
Whether you were prayerfully assigned a roommate, or you chose your best friend for the past ten years, the best relationships with roommates don’t just happen; they require a significant investment on your part. In fact, experience tells us that roommates who chose each other often struggle more than roommates placed together by our residence life team. The bottom line is this: good roommate relationships take work and patience. They take good communication, maturity, compromise, and both quality and quantity time. The following information has been prepared to help you and your roommate get pointed in the right direction.
How are the roommates assigned?
Roommates are assigned in a prayerful and artful process undertaken by the Resident Directors. Here’s the process, step-by-step:
As you can imagine, this is an incredible complex “puzzle” that we initiate that first day and then continue all fall long. Hopefully, you can see from these details why your first preference isn’t always available, how we chose your roommate, etc. Know this, however, that we believe God is a part of this process as much as He was in bringing you to LeTourneau, and we know that He can use this process to draw you closer to Him—however it turns out. We’re thrilled to be a part of the a housing process that can put you in contact with someone that could be your best friend for the rest of your life!
Wisdom from Those Who have Gone Before You…
The good news is, you’re not the first person to be in a relatively small space with a complete stranger. So we’ve got some practical tips from those who have gone before you to make this relationship not just tolerable, but transforming!
It all starts with communication. Through the MyLETU Portal, you received home contact information and email address of your roommate. If you’d like, start with an email to break the ice: introduce yourself briefly and schedule a time to talk with each other on the phone. During this first conversation, don’t worry too much about who will bring what for the room. Use this time to begin getting to know each other and set a positive tone for your new relationship.
It’s totally natural to be anxious about this first phone call with your roommate. We have found that it’s best to be upbeat and positive, not to divulge all your quirks or high expectations all at once. Expect some differences—you both have several years of expectations, experiences and opinions under your belts. Differences aren’t bad or automatically wrong—they’re neutral. One of the best aspects of living with others is learning to listen well, ask questions, and appreciate the unique qualities of each individual.
Remember that just as you’ll change in immeasurable ways during your time at LeTourneau, so too will your roommate, so don’t hold onto your first impressions too closely. After all, you probably wouldn’t want them to judge you too quickly, either! These impressions can drastically change as you get to know each other throughout the first semester. It is important to cut each other some slack and take your time getting to know each other better.
What should we talk about first?
The following are some questions and topics for you to consider during your first conversation:
Throughout the time that you live at LeTourneau, you will quickly learn that communication with your roommate (especially speaking the truth in love early) is essential for having a good overall on-campus living experience. So take the initiative now, and set the stage for a great relationship!
What should we cover in further communication this fall?
After you have a little more knowledge about each other, feel free to start talking about more practical items, such as:
What Should We Talk about Early During the First Semester?
While it may seem awkward to actually ask these things, the answers are crucial to share with one another in one form or another. Be willing to step outside your comfort zone and meet your roommate half-way, but in areas of great importance for you, also be willing to set good boundaries and ask that you roommate respect those. Above all, be completely honest, sharing your true feelings and not just want you think the other individual wants to hear.
Living in Community
What does it mean to live in community? Does it simply mean living in a building with several other students at LeTourneau? In the Office of Residence Life, we view community as something far more than a group of people in close proximity. Rather, we believe living in community is the integral, life-changing element of your overall LETU experience. Community is about sharing all of life together—the good, the bad, and the ugly—to know and be known by others, and to be a part of something larger than yourself.
It can be tempting to view life as a story about “me” where you are the central character and all others are simply actors in your life movie. Much of life today seems to support this claim that life is about you and what you want it to be; however, as you learn to live together in community, and as you consider the servanthood example of Christ, you will realize that you are a part of something far greater than yourself and that others are often used by God to reveal more of Himself to you than you could ever grasp alone. The experience of living well together in community at LeTourneau University promises to be exciting and enjoyable, but it will also challenge you to understand better and take greater responsibility for your role in the overall community.
What if Life Isn’t So Rosy?
For all the good that life has to offer in fellowship with others, we all know that relationships are messy. At our core, we’re often selfish people who don’t always feel like thinking of others first. So, while we don’t really want to bring up the idea of struggle in your roommate relationship, being realistic is the first step—recognize that in all the good, there will likely be some rough spots. Once you see something going downhill, address it with your roommate soon—long before it becomes bigger in your mind than it might be in reality. If there is still not resolution, involve the residence life staff—not everyone on your floor, not your classmates that live somewhere else, not the school newspaper. Sharing with others outside only those most intimately involved does not honor and show respect for your roommate and typically only adds unhelpful drama to the situation. The ResLife staff are trained to help, and the Resident Directors are wise in their counsel. Involving them early in the process—well before you are “fed up” and “just have to move”—could create the best response of all: growth in yourself and others, and the preservation of a relationship that has persevered.
Our challenge for you today is to begin thinking about what it means to be a part of something bigger than yourself. How will your actions affect those around you? What are your rights as a member of the community, and what are others’ rights? More importantly, what is your responsibility as a part of the larger community? As you begin to be challenged by these questions, you will realize that living in community at LeTourneau is much more than simply cohabiting in the same building.