So who will it be?

From unknown to friend

by Annamarie Frost (’13, ’14M)

Annamarie Frost ('13) (left) and her once-unknown roommate who became a friend.

Annamarie Frost (’13) (left) and her once-unknown roommate who became a friend.

So you’ve decided to attend JMU. You’ve gone to your Summer Springboard day, and your excitement about starting college is getting greater each day. Every time you walk into a store your eyes are immediately drawn to the dorm room displays, and you can’t wait to move into your dorm room. There’s only one thing missing…

You don’t know who your roommate will be!

Five years ago, I was in your same shoes. No one from my area was going to JMU, so I chose to get a random roommate assigned to me by the Office of Residence Life. I figured that this was going to be the one time in my life that I could leave my roommate fate in someone else’s hands. Plus, if the roommate pairing happened to not work out, I wouldn’t have to blame myself for choosing that person. And by living in a residence hall, I knew that I could always look to my RA for help sorting out a potential disagreement between the two of us, if needed. So I filled out the short survey about my habits and hoped that I would get a roommate who was compatible to me.

JMU%20winter-1My freshman year roommate and I were a great match from the beginning. She was from Maryland and I was from Georgia. We were both outgoing individuals who loved to stay up late but would then have trouble waking up to our early morning alarms. Her family even sent me little care packages around different holidays! We only lived together during our freshman year because I became an RA the following year. So in order to stay in communication with each other, we established our own tradition of having a weekly catch up meal at D Hall for Cheesy Thursday all the way up to our final week as undergrads at JMU. To this day, I am so glad I chose a random roommate because I had such a great experience with it and gained a friend for life.

The transition from high school to college is a big deal for everyone. Many of you will be adjusting from having your own room at home (and maybe even bathroom) to sharing those spaces with others. By living with a roommate, you have an immediate connection in your residence hall. Your roommate is an automatic buddy to join you for walks across campus to your morning classes, rides on the Shopper bus to Walmart and meals at the dining halls. You can attend sporting events or check out different JMU organizations together. Some of these activities are intimidating to do on your own, so having a roommate go with you can sometimes make it easier.

Annamarie Frost and Laura Hardiman on the last day of their year as freshmen roommates...but hardly their last day as  friends.

Annamarie Frost and Laura Hardiman on the last day of their year as freshmen roommates…but hardly their last day as
friends.

Between now and August 1st, enjoy the rest of your summer break and start shopping for those dorm essentials. (But let me recommend that you wait until your find out your roommate before making those larger purchases of the TV and mini fridge!) Before you know it, you’ll find out the name of your roommate, quickly Facebook friend them, and start getting to know the person you will share a space with from August to May.

And no matter how much time passes, this person will always have the title of roommate to you, but it is my hope that over time, they will gain the title of a friend as well.

DSC_0096ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Double Duke Annamarie Frost graduated in May 2013 with a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies and minors in Elementary Education and General Music. While at JMU, she worked for the Office of Residence Life as an RA for 1 year and a hall director for 3 years. She was also very involved with Student Ambassadors, SGA, and The Madison Society. In May 2014, she earned her Master of Arts in Teaching. This fall, she’ll be a first year teacher in Loudoun County Public Schools. Annamarie will be teaching 3rd grade at Sully Elementary in Sterling, Va.

 

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Rooms with a view

Josh Smead

Josh Smead

You’ve been accepted to James Madison University. You’re psyched about moving to campus. You’re searching for a roommate, and you’re wondering if your flat screen or your favorite lounge chair will fit into your room. In fact, you’re wondering what your room will look like.

Now you can get an early look via a cool new app that’s free and downloadable.[UPDATE: The app is now available. Here’s the link:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/jmu-res-life/id631516853?mt=8 ]

Josh Smead (’12), coordinator of social media and marketing for the Office of Residence Life, has spent this year working on an app that will allow incoming students to see what their residence hall rooms look like before they arrive on campus.

“The app will let new students virtually tour every single residence hall on campus,” Josh says. Some colleges and universities offer similar services, but “nothing like this. As far as we can tell, this is the first app like this anywhere in the country.”

Students will not only be able to view a residence hall room, but they will be able to navigate through the 3-D image for a realistic “walk” through their room.

If you follow this blog, you’ll recognize Josh’s name. Last year, he and a couple of other seniors designed an iPad app that allows visitors to tour JMU’s Lisanby Museum virtually and also provides an enhanced experience by giving them access to additional information.

Double room in Shorts Hall

Double room in Shorts Hall

The residence hall app was “a little more challenging,” Josh says. The Lisanby app had a single room to navigate, while the new residence hall app has 28 navigable environments, one for each of JMU’s residence halls. (The “Tree House” residence halls are all identical and thus are grouped together; Greek Row is not included because it is not designated for first year housing.) Plus, Josh adds, when he created the Lisanby app, he had the help of fellow students Peter Epley (’12, engineering) and Matt Burton (’12, physics).  This time around, however, “I had to teach myself programming to create the app,” he says.

In addition to navigating individual rooms, Josh figured out a way of integrating a campus map into the new app. The built-in map function has all the major campus landmarks and will allow users to see where they are on campus.

And soon Josh, ever the explorer, will start a new personal venture. He’s leaving JMU and enrolling in a graduate program at Syracuse University to become an architect.  “I have wanted to become an architect nearly my whole life,” he says, “and I finally had the opportunity, so I took it.”

The new app, which is called JMU Res Life, has just been submitted to the Apple store and should be available shortly. 

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