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Room draw play-by-play

Returning to school after spring break is marked by a look toward Lawnparties, dreaded finals and the feeling that the academic year is coming to a close. With this also comes the heavily anticipated contest known as room draw. Beyond deciding what classes you want to take next semester, you also have to decide where you want to live on campus, and navigating University real estate is no easy task. You’ve had the awkward “It’s not you, it’s just me, but definitely also your strange stuffed animals” breakup talk with your ex-roommates. You’ve scoured each residential college and upperclassman dorm, hell-bent on finding which rooms hide the extra square footage that those poorly drawn floor plans fail to accurately portray. Your final list is complete and carefully arranged to reflect your draw time’s expected availabilities, which is the only time you have ever applied that Stats class you took when you considered declaring Woody Woo. So, understanding that all of the preplanning crystallizes in one exhilarating five-minute window of rapid-fire clicks and chaos-induced confusion, I present you with the official room draw play-by-play:

9:30 a.m.

You wake up bright and early to a (long-awaited) sunny spring day. You realize that having a Spanish quiz and a history presentation scheduled for today no longer matters. The only significant part of today is room draw. You reflect on the time and place you and your respective draw group have chosen for the selection fiesta, and at all costs plan your day around meeting there.

9:30 a.m.-2:25 p.m.

You spend every spare minute in class rechecking availability of rooms. In the breaks between groups’ draw times, you practice typing your password in the fastest manner possible. You stretch your fingers and engage in digit practice — dexterity is key. Is this what being an athlete is like? Probably.

2:30 p.m.

You arrive at the designated meeting spot, the metaphorical war zone. You have come prepared for battle, but you notice that one of your roommates who has never made it to a class on time is missing. Typical. You mentally justify abandoning her for the good of the group; after all, utilitarianism was the only reasonable philosophy you took from that ethics class.

2:37 p.m.

Everyone has finally gathered. You congratulate yourself on your impeccable foresight. You told them it started at 2:40 because you knew they would all be late. Amateurs. You all settle in to stare at your computers, anticipating your actual start time at 2:45 p.m.

2:40 p.m.

That one girl whom you didn’t even want in your group has begun trying to rally everyone into picking a different room than the one initially agreed upon. As if you didn’t see that coming: you watched the second season of House of Cards straight through. You throw a Frank Underwood side-glance to the camera and smile as you carefully explain to her that it doesn’t make sense to change plans so late in the game. It would involve another round of deciphering floor plans, and the quickly approaching deadline would only lead to a regrettable, rash decision. After having successfully outed that fire, you continue to nervously stare at your desired room’s floor plan in case the provided statistics were wrong, causing you to mistakenly choose a smaller room.

2:44:01 p.m.-2:44:57 p.m.

Mere seconds until go time. You have a brief panic attack as you look at your draw group and question whether at this last opportunity you should pick a single, leave these people and live a life secluded from the harsh realities of the world forever. You decide against it and commit to communal living (your roommate’s mom always keeps the room stocked with snacks, and you aren’t sure you can give that up now.)

2:44:58 p.m.

You send up a little prayer in the hopes that everything works out for all those participating in the Great Room Draw of 2014. But really you just hope that it works out exactly the way you planned and wanted.

2:44:59 p.m.

COMMENCE CLICKING.

2:45 p.m.

A hush falls over the room. For a site with the acronym “POSH,” you realize that Princeton’s One Stop Housing website is not sleek at all. You hear the clicking of keys as everyone navigates through to find current room availability. Your room has to be there.

2:49 p.m.

Silence. Everyone realizes that your top choice is gone. You lament the useless hours of monitoring rooms wasted in the futile attempt to beat the game. Each group member serendipitously groans in unison, but quickly the group moves on to finding the next best room. You bid adieu to the design plans you had for that fireplace and alcove, and silently blame everything on the girl who tried to switch your plans at the last moment.

2:50 p.m.

One person exclaims that she finished the contract. You look up to see her nervously glancing at everyone else’s computer. She must have heard you mumbling about getting a single … You look away from her and keep sprinting toward the finish line.

2:51 p.m.

That one girl is complaining that she can’t figure out how to finalize her selection. You march over to her computer, condescendingly explain how to click your way into a housing contract and walk back to your side of the table.

2:52 p.m.

Everyone is finally on the same page. The “Accept” button appears. You glance at the bolded note that reads: “Once you accept a room, you CANNOT rescind the contract.” You momentarily panic again but force yourself to press “Accept.” Take a look at the cost of housing and room summary while internally lamenting its inferiority to your optimal choice. Then, you remember that kids who go to school in New York would probably be moved to tears by the “spacious” square footage at a low-ish cost.

2:53 p.m.

This year’s draw has ended in a flurry. Contracts are submitted. Everyone high-fives, and you salute your new roommates as the adrenaline rush wears off. Until next year, room draw gods.

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