by Victoria Nguyen
So the past couple of weeks have been stressful and chaotic due to self-induced procrastination, last-minute test prep, teenage stress and a multitude of other external challenges. Thankfully I came out on top with few signs of my frequent panic attacks and meltdowns. One of the driving forces that helped me through all the chaos the last couple of weeks was my incredible roommate. She is truly a blessing and I know we have started an amazing, and hopefully long-lasting friendship.
I know that a lot of people, myself included, are afraid of living with a complete stranger in the college atmosphere. It can be a scary and intense experience at first, but if you approach it with an open mind and with your honest personality, things will be a little easier. I have had two completely different experiences with roommates, and learned what makes aspects will foreshadow and develop a positive relationship with your future space-sharer.
My first semester in college was one that I was looking forward to. I was eager for new experiences and especially branching out to meet new people. I thought that my roommate, the person I was going to be interacting with the most, would be the first person that I would come to call a new friend, but oh, how I was mistaken! Here at Texas State, roommates are basically selected randomly if you do not choose one yourself. You are given contact information for your roommate before school even starts so you can start the communication process and get your affairs in order. I, of course, didn’t want to just meet my roommate on the first day of school, so I shot her an e-mail to introduce myself and try to get to know her, which I suggest everyone do to help make the transition less awkward.
Well, my first roommate never replied to my e-mails and really showed no interest in trying to reach out to me. I knew nothing about this girl and really had no right to judge her, but I was just not getting the friendly vibes just from her lack of communication with me. Communication is the most important aspect that your relationship with your future roommate relies on. I promise that if you and your roommate have a strong foundation established by communication, the experience will be exponentially better. I’m not saying that the two of you will be best friends forever, but you will find things go a lot smoother.
Another issue that came along with my first roommate was that she never talked to me. I am not exaggerating. I am not the most outgoing person, and I find it extremely uncomfortable to start and drive conversations. I’m the type of person who depends on feedback to fully engage in conversations and when you simply give one word answers to questions, I do not know how to continue to the exchange. My roommate just came across as cold and uninterested in making new friends.
I know some people come to college with their group of friends from high school, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, I do think that shutting yourself off from the rest of the world and keeping yourself from making new friends in college is self-depriving. Branch out and discover who you are supposed to be. I would never tell anyone to be someone they’re not around other people, and by no means am I saying you HAVE to be friends with your roommate, but I do think you should acknowledge one another and act civilly. I can tell you from experience that it honestly sucks to walk into a room and be greeted with a cold shoulder of someone who could care less about your existence. Be cordial and remember basic etiquette towards the person you’ll be living with.
Make sure you talk about your expectations about housekeeping. I’m not a super tidy person, but I do like things to look presentable. My first roommate never kept her side of the room clean and it bothered me, but the most annoying thing was when her mess made its way over to my space. It got so bad that I would have to step over her stuff to get to where I needed to be, which got a little tricky sometimes. I’d suggest that you talk with your roommate and lay out some ground rules about cleanliness and other similar topics such as the sharing of items. We didn’t share anything so that wasn’t an issue for me, but if you plan on bringing a fridge, T.V., gaming systems, or things of that nature, make sure that each of you clearly state your expectations and rules regarding these objects.
I didn’t share all these truly horrible stories to scare anyone or try and convince them that the dorm life should be avoided because that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Living in a dorm is a great way to meet people and experience some of what college has to offer. I just wanted to prepare you for issues that could arise and potential ways to avoid or fix them. Things did not go well for me the first semester as far as roommates go, but this semester the antithesis of the previous one. My new roommate contacted me, exchanged contact information, and honestly made the perfect effort to get to know me. We connected immediately and have become really good friends. We both have similar interests and hobbies, and feel comfortable with each other to discuss various topics. We invite each other to do different things and have even met each other’s families. I love my new roommate and I am having a ton more fun. So as you go through the next couple months think about how you are going to approach your new roommate. Remember to be polite and open-minded. But most of all remember to be yourself.