Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Res Life Can Die

The following is an email I am seriously considering sending to ResLife.

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Dear Room Draw (suitably abstracted),

The following email is somewhat overwrought, but be assured that my anger is quite genuine and is very much directed at the people whose policy decisions I blame for the current state of affairs.

A great "Family Guy" episode once showed two Jewish slaves in Egypt conversing. One tried to cheer the other up: "Think of it this way: Every group of people has to go through some tough times. But us Jews are getting ours out of the way early. From here on out, it's going to be smooth sailing!"

Being Jewish, I had much the same thoughts my Freshman year, when my draw number was a catastrophic third from the bottom. I consoled myself by realizing that, surely, my misfortune would be counterbalanced in the years to come. Unfortunately, three straight years of having draw numbers above 350 have disillusioned me of any hope in justice and instead made me an embittered shell of a man. Tragically, the fact that these numbers are randomly generated offers no solace to those of us who are the victim of statistical clustering. And so we curse to the heavens, destitute in the knowledge that our pleas for justice will go unheeded, and that the fates laugh cruelly from impenetrable towers.

Knowing full well that room draw is a stressful time for Carleton students of all years, there should be some effort to attempt balance so that students who get screwed in year A don't continue to be at the bottom in years B and C. Obviously, someone needs to be at the top and others at the bottom, but a little bit of distributional justice is not too much to ask from this otherwise stern bastion of liberalism. We have many extraordinarily bright CS majors who I'm sure would be quite eager to create such an algorithim. It's absence can only be explained by bureaucratic apathy or outright sadism towards its charges, which currently lies at the root of my hatred for life and by extension those directly responsible for my impending exile to Musser.

Seriously--why me?

Sincerely,
David Schraub, '08
494, 370something, 465

***

The numbers refer to order in class, so "465" means I'll be the 465th (out of 495) person in the class of '08 to draw for a room. So, I've been easily in the bottom 25th percentile (and often significantly worse) each and every year.

Seriously--I'm not sure I've ever been as upset at Carleton as I am right now.

2 comments:

Jonah Ostroff said...

Actually, I asked Res Life about this, and apparently such a system already exists. However, it's not simply prior draw numbers that play a role in the balancing.

"Other factors," explains Director of Residential Life Steve Wisener, "include whether the student was placed in Burton for his or her freshman year, whether the student has lived in Severance hall for four terms, whether the student had what was effectively a Myers single, and whether the student founded a facebook group titled 'I've Lived on Sevy 4 and That Makes Me Special.'"

Man, that guy picks the weirdest examples.

Best,
Jonah Ostroff, '08
288, 45, 54

David Schraub said...

Cherry-picked irrelevancies! I won't stand for it!

Congratulations another ridiculously good draw number (hopefully you won't waste it by going off campus again next Fall). What are you planning to do with it?

:-p