Student Needs to Stop Whining About Sharing College Dorm With Roommate's 4-Year-Old

Rant 159

dorm room

Imagine being a junior in college and finding our your dormmate would be -- a 4-year-old. No, this toddler wasn't so brainy that he was admitted to New York University super early. But he did have a mother who was also attending the prestigious college -- and she was assigned Shasten Snellgroves as a roommate. Shasten was aghast to learn that her roomie was a mom and that, according to school policy, she'd be able to bring in her young son into their dorm room as many days of the month as she liked, and up to six nights a month.

Shasten complained to school officials, but was merely told she'd need to "compromise." Finally, she wrote a letter and made it public. There, she said, "I don’t feel that it is just for me to be facing consequences related to her life decisions." Ahh, youth. Still under the impression that they can live life in a bubble of their own making.

I sympathize with Shasten. I really do. And at her age, I would have been horrified to walk into my college dorm room and find a toddler there -- possibly barfing, or screaming, or asking the same question over and over ... and over. Not only does this not make for the best study environment, but it disrupts the entire "college experience," as Shasten puts it in her letter.

But I'm a little older and wiser now. In fact, as I sit here writing, I'm listening to my upstairs neighbor's 1-year-old scream. I've been listening to it for a year. I didn't choose to have a child -- but I might as well have.

The fact is, most of us will have to deal with someone else's choices at some time in our lives -- even a stranger's. That's because we all live in the same planet. And without each other, we're doomed, my friends.

If you're going to benefit from someone else's choice to become a fireman and save your ass from a burning building, then you also have to deal with someone else's choice to have a kid and move it into your dorm room. Because we don't get to deal with the choices of others that we just AGREE with.

In fact, it's challenges like dealing with difficult situations -- and other people's life choices -- that make us better, more profound humans.

Shasten could have used this opportunity for so many things. She could have gotten to know what it's like to be a single mom trying to juggle college (perhaps widening her perspective a little). She could have written about her experiences (imagine Tuesdays with My Roommate's Toddler). She could have used it on her resume to show how well she adapts to unexpected situations.

She didn't do any of this, of course. She complained. And since her roommate has been moved to a single room -- she got her way.

But it won't always be like that.

Do you think moms should be in college dorm rooms with their kids?

Image jonsson/Flickr

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nonmember avatar kaerae

absolutely not! That's what student family housing is for. What kind of a mother would rather live in the dorms and only have her child 6 nights a month than live off campus. What a selfish woman! Does the roommate have to have lights off by 9 in her own room? This is ludicrous. Listening to a crying baby in an apartment is life, but a dorm is completely different.

nonmember avatar krelia

If I'm paying for my education, I would raise hell if I get forced in to an environment that potentially makes it harder for me to learn. Not my kid, shouldn't be my problem.

nonmember avatar blh

I don't think a college dorm is the place for a child. I'd understand if it was occasional but not all the time. I wonder ejy this woman lives in a dorm and not with her kid.

amber... amberdotsmom

Seriously what's wrong with you?  So in your world anyone can do just about anything they want and we not  only have to accept it and use it as a learning experience we have to incorporate it into our lives no matter waht?  There are two people living in that dorm equally and Shasten also has rights in this situation.  She's paying room and board too.  If this were a shared apartment where the living arrangments were agreed in advance she'd know what she was getting into.  But to be forced to live with a child that disrupts not just your schedule but in this case an education that she is also paying good money for - that's wrong.  She can learn plenty from a single mother without being forced to live with the child.

And the Fireman analogy?  Makes no sense at all - does the fireman live with you, set test fires in your dorm/apartment/house?  How is the career choice of someone you don't even know an equal example to sharing a room with someone elses child?

jessy... jessyroos

I certainly don't have a problem with moms having kids in dorms, but I do have a problem with a school who would allow that pairing without letting the other student know. When I was in university it was standard practice to have dorm students fill out questionnaires about themselves so as to find good matches for more harmonious living situations. I absolutely think the university had a responsibility to let potential dorm students know that they could be paired with a mother and child.

mande... manderspanders

There IS a difference between a screaming child in another apartment and one right in your own dorm room. 

You have been in a dorm room right?  I never lived in a dorm, but visited plenty of friends in theirs... and I'd say that this gal is right about not wanting a 4 year old to be there.

Sure we other people's lives collide with ours, often in undesireable ways and we just have to learn to deal with it.  But for the expense of a dorm room, the close quarters, and the less than PG activities that go on, it really in inappropriate for this girl to be forced to room with a child.

EmmaF... EmmaFromEire

no, she has every damn right to complain. When you apply for college accomodation, you are applying with the expectation of sharing with other students, NOT their kids. She should not be stuck living with her roommate's child.

zandh... zandhmom2

I'm glad she got her way and the other girl moved out.  Who the hell wants to be away from home and living the life of a college student only to have a kid in the room with you??? NOT ME.

nonmember avatar Jennifer

How about the person who had a child deal with her own choices instead of making someone else suffer? I'm not in any way saying that a single mom should be denied a chance at an education, but it SHOULD disqualify her from regular student housing. I wasn't even allowed to bring my CAT to live in the dorms; toddlers certainly don't belong there.

nonmember avatar Bay

If her child is only there 6 nights a month, where is he staying the rest of the time and who is taking care of him?

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