|Transfer Students Find Friendship at LVC
You would think that recent graduates Becca Farson and Ryanne Martel had been friends since grade school. The inseparable duo does everything together – school, work, meals, extracurriculars, shopping – but they actually met as sophomore transfer students in the fall of 2009 at Lebanon Valley College.
Their decisions for transferring to LVC were similar. Farson had enrolled at Lafayette College on a field hockey scholarship but was injured and unable to play. She decided she wasn’t at the school for the right reasons, and wanted to study education. She researched her opportunities, and determined that LVC best prepared its students for teaching – and she received a great financial aid package. Martel grew up in Allentown but moved to Colorado during her senior year of high school. She enrolled at the University of Colorado, but quickly realized that she longed for the East Coast.
Farson and Martel were assigned as roommates through the Office of Residential Life’s Housing Preference Form and personality tests, which match students based on perceived compatibility.
“We Facebook messaged each other in July after getting our assignments,” Farson said. “I thought Ryanne’s name was pronounced “Rain” because of the spelling – I thought she was a hippy!”
“We chatted about working while we were in school,” Martel said. “I had been looking at the campus job opportunities and applied for a position at the College Store. I told Becca about it and suggested she apply, but it turns out she was already hired there. Chad (Schreier, then director of the College Store) had no idea he had hired roommates!”
The duo clicked instantly. Though studying two very different majors – Farson in education and Martel in business administration – they were able to take two general education courses together in their three years at LVC, psychology and statistics.
“One of the first things we found out about each other was that we’re competitive,” Farson said, “We had an unwritten pressure on who’s going to get a better grade – a healthy competition.”
That competitiveness carried over to their extracurricular involvement, when both applied for resident assistant positions for their junior year.
“We talked about what we would do if one of was named an RA and the other wasn’t,” Martel said. “The day we found out was over spring break during sophomore year. I got the email and saw that I got the position, so I texted Becca to ask her if she got it, too. She didn’t text me back, and I felt really bad. I assumed she didn’t get it and was so mad she wasn’t talking to me. It turned out Becca’s phone was dead and didn’t get the message until later. Thankfully, she was also named an RA!”
The duo didn’t find out until the end of sophomore year that they were assigned to be RAs in the same building (Funkhouser) and on the same floor. It was an experiment cooked up by Jason Kuntz, director of residential life, who wanted to see if close friends and roommates would make a good RA team.
“Being in such close quarters allowed us to keep our friendship going, and it was easier knowing your floor partner,” Martel said. “We didn’t have to take the time to establish a relationship before getting starting on our joint programming.”
“It was really convenient to be able to just yell down the hallway,” Farson added. “Having two sides to the floor gave us some separation, but we were able to work together on socials, bulletin boards, and especially as a first year RA, that was really helpful.”
“I think having someone to share the entire educational experience with made the entire experience enjoyable,” Martel said. “We weren’t just friends for the last few years – we had the same room, same job, same activities – it was so easy to connect. When either of us was stressed, we could vent to the other because she was able to relate to everything you’re going through. It made it so much easier to make the transfer transition.”
Farson agreed. “I think it’s something that’s great about LVC and I always got to share this story as a Valley Ambassador. I love to tell parents about my experience because LVC does such a great job at matching people together – many of my friends have the same roommate for all four years. The residential life personality tests really work to pick good pairs. It was great to stay good friends and not feel like we’re in each other’s space.”
Since graduation, Farson and Martel have been separated by many states, but they’re determined to remain close friends. Farson is looking for a job as a teacher and planning to coach field hockey while Martel is searching for a human resources position. It’s unlikely that they’ll wind up in the same state, but if they do, they will be thrilled to share another new experience as a team.