Upon entering the threshold of a university in the pursuit of a higher education, the prospective college student is seized by a storm of emotions- fear of the unknown, the sadness of parting with old friends and family, but mostly the excitement of beginning an adventure anew, of meeting new and interesting people, of challenging your own beliefs and views, of ultimately becoming the best version of yourself that you can possibly be.
But before you do all that, you have to start with the basics, right? I mean you can’t just eat a massive ice cream cake within a matter of seconds, at least not without getting a serious stomachache. You have to take it piece by piece. Spoonful by spoonful, right? The same goes for the college experience. You need to take it step by step.
So if you’ve decided to live on campus for the upcoming semester, then I’m pretty sure one of your biggest questions is roommates. What’ll they be like? Will we be best friends? Will we do fun college things together- like studying outside or going to football games or going to beery parties or playing Frisbee when the weather’s nice?
At the same turn, I’m sure you’ve been exposed to your fair share of roommate horror stories. Frenzied fights, messy move-outs, miserable miscommunication, drama with boyfriends or girlfriends, on and on and on. So what’s a clueless freshman to do?
Which end of the spectrum will you fall on? Best friends or mortal enemies? Will we be exchanging warm embraces of friendship and brotherly/sisterly love or engaged in furious combat, with our teeth bared and fists flying?
Now what if I told you that the most realistic option is somewhere in between? That you very well could end up rooming with your next best friend or mortal enemy, but there’s an 80% chance that you’ll be in neutral territory?
If your roommate is a normal, respectable human being with reasonable needs and expectations (which they most likely are), then chances are good that you’ll strike some sort of balance. If you’re an early bird, she’ll turn out the lights when you’re asleep, and the next morning you’ll pay her back by being as quiet as you can as you get ready for the day ahead.
But if the uncertainty of random roommate selection absolutely drives you insane, you might be tempted to room with a friend. I know I was.
Maybe you could avoid the unpleasant surprises, the boyfriend/girlfriend who drops in and never seems to leave, the possibility of being sexiled, the passive aggressive sticky notes plastered around the room. Maybe rooming with someone you know is a safe and smart choice. Hey, it should be totally be in your comfort zone and you have a good idea of what you’re getting into. But would I recommend it myself? Not particularly.
But wait, Anusha. You’ve just listed all of these terrible things that might come to pass if I don’t room with a friend. How could you possibly be in favor of plunging into the unknown?To diving into the abyss?
To these intelligent inquiries, I say yes this is true. But is it not also true that every action merits some degree of risk? Even if you were to strive to avoid the possible repercussions of rooming with a stranger, you’d still have the risk of discovering some crazy quirk of your rooming buddy that drives you crazy! What if they wake up at an odd hour of the night to do their salt water gargling to maintain their oral hygiene? What if they scream vengefully at their computer screen when working on different assignments? What if they like leaving the AC on at full blast mid-December while keeping the window open and turning the fan on?
All of the craziness of rooming with someone aside, choosing to live with someone you don’t know pushes you out of your comfort zone. It gives you the opportunity to discover how to communicate effectively with someone new, to understand what being a considerate roommate is, to learn how to compromise but not to subdue your own needs.
And even if you and your roommate don’t end up being the best of friends, what about your floormates? Those fine individuals who might not share a room with you but are just a few doors down the hall? Just think about how close you guys might become! From cookie-filled movie nights, to yoga classes, to random tea parties in the lounges, to countless trips to the diner, who knows? Your best friends might just be right outside the confines of your room! All because you took that first step into oblivion.