OPINION: CliQUe

How the housing system at Quinnipiac fosters a clique culture

By on February 26, 2019

Ten…seven…six…five…one. No, it’s not a drunk senior’s countdown to graduation.

It’s the number of friends we’ll have left after four years enduring Quinnipiac’s dystopian housing selection process.

Clique culture is so embedded into the fabric of Quinnipiac that I am convinced we are drinking it in our Mt. Caramel macchiatos. But in more than any other institution, Quinnipiac housing demands cliques and the slow trimming and refining of our cliques to the finest and most valuable members.

Think of it like this. You’re a freshman living in Troup with eight other girls. By some miracle of the housing gods, these eight girls become your best friends. However, when sophomore year rolls around, you learn there are only two dorms in the entire university can accommodate your whole group – the two 10 person suites in Village.

Since the chances of getting one of them is slim to none, you have to pick which one of your friends is least valuable so that you can fit into the standard seven-person suite in Village or Hill. This requires you to talk behind the backs of your so-called best friends to determine which one to cut. Then you have to have a group meeting and turn her loose, to the wilderness. It’s The Bachelor, and she didn’t get a rose.

Not only is that friendship over, but that girl’s self-esteem will never be the same. It’s survival of the fittest, and she just wasn’t fit.

You think it could get no worse, but then your squad gets their lottery numbers and you get a number in the 900s. In other words, you’re living in the steerage section of the Titanic. Even more serious is the fact that steerage only has room for six girls. It’s time to weed out another one of your friends.

This resembles the Hunger Games. It requires people to turn against friends for the benefit of their own survival. College is stressful enough, but now you feel as though you’re rushing for a sorority within your own dorm room. All semester you have to prove yourself to the other girls in your group as one of the most valuable, one that cannot be let loose. While you might feel like the group is a “match” for you, if they don’t pick you back, you’re out on your own.

The cycle continues junior year, when you have to weed your group down to five or six to accommodate the York Hill living. By senior year, all of your friends will have turned against one another in the housing debacle, so luckily you can opt to live in a single dorm, alone, to repent the sins you selfishly committed throughout the past three years of “rushing” among your suitemates.

The toxicity and exclusivity that this system fosters are worsened when you consider the premise of a suite.

When choosing sophomore housing, each freshman must find a group of five to six other students that he or she would like to reside with. That requires each freshman to have at least five friends, of the same gender, in the same class.

While this is something that social butterflies take for granted, for other students, finding a group of people to live with can be a stressful and self-esteem crushing task.

To help, Quinnipiac has set up “roommate mixers,” which is kind of like speed dating but for roommates.

In other words, if you don’t have a clique, they will facilitate you finding one. Going to a roommate mixer must feel like failure. You had six months to live on campus and find five friends, and instead you just found three, which isn’t a large enough clique for Quinnipiac.

It’s a walk of shame, as you and the other “loners” have to find a few more people you can tolerate living with for two semesters.

It shouldn’t be this way. At many other major institutions, students have to choose one roommate. One. At Quinnipiac, we have to find a clique and we have to arrive at that clique through a series of painful incisions at the core of our friend groups.

Freshman, be careful in these next few weeks. Be sure to be on your A game or you just might get chopped.

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About Emily DiSalvo