Roommate Roulette

Some universities try a little harder than others to match students with good roommates. A lot don’t try at all. In the end, it’s important to remember what a roommate really is: random. A few of my friends at school ended up really close to their roommates. But far more of them could barely stand to live in the same place as the person sleeping on the top bunk.

I had three randomly assigned roommates in my time at school. The first already had a group of friends that I wasn’t really invited to be a part of. The second was super religious and didn’t do anything that wasn’t a church event. The third barely spoke English. I count myself lucky that I lived with these ladies. I didn’t really become friends with any of them, but we didn’t drive each other crazy either.

Living with random people is only as bad as you make it, though. The main goal is to respect each other. If you can do that and your roommate can do that, you won’t have very many problems. Expect some problem, though. After all, if she leaves town for the weekend and you can’t figure out how to turn off her overly complicated alarm clock, that’s a problem. Living in dorm-size close quarters is always hard, even if you are good friends. A messy roommate or a loud roommate could seem like the bane of your existence if you continually get frustrated about it.

Getting out of the room as much as possible helps to mitigate these struggles. When your roommate is driving you crazy, go study at the library or watch T.V. in the common room on your floor. You only have to sleep there. Trying to live in those tiny rooms all of the time is likely to drive anyone a little up the wall.

It’s also good to calmly talk to your roommate about things that are bothering you. If he leaves out all of his dirty dishes and bugs are starting to crawl on your shelf, tell him to clean up. But be nice about it; you still have to live together after the confrontation. RAs are a good source to help you get along better with your roommate. They’ve lived with roommates before, and it’s part of their jobs to help you live with yours. Also, telling someone about it is very therapeutic. Don’t let all of your frustration bottle inside you, or it will probably explode at your unsuspecting roommate.

The person you’re assigned to live with probably won’t be the only person you live with. A lot of students will rent an apartment or a small house with some friends after a few years of school. Those can be your fun, college-memory-type roommates. When you actually pick your living situation—the place, the space and the people—roommates are usually a lot of fun. Just don’t expect that to be the case when you first arrive at school, or you’re likely to be very disappointed.

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