Adam Jensen graduated from Grand Valley State in 2013 with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration. He double majored in Marketing and Business Economics, and was a member of the Honors College. More importantly, he can rollerblade. He’s really good at it. He’s also pretty good at drinking hot chocolate, but he doesn’t want to toot his own horn.
Hello, my name is Adam. I know you probably came to this site expecting to read about what you should/shouldn’t do at school, but I recently graduated college, and one thing I couldn’t stand was people telling me what I “had to do” while I was there.
“Join a student organization!”
“Go to a sporting event!”
“Get out! You weren’t invited to this party!”
Thankfully, this is America, so I can do whatever I want. And so can you.
I’m not going to give you 5 tips that will “make your freshman year great!” I’m not going to tell you what classes you should take, or who you should date, or any of that, because I think that people should make their own decisions. It’s your life, not a Buzzfeed article. No, I’m not going to give you any tips. I’m just going to tell you about my freshman year roommate.
I’m an only child (don’t hold it against me), so I didn’t know what it would be like living with someone my own age. Fights over the remote? Stealing one another’s food? Unreciprocated romantic advances? As far as I was concerned, all of these were well within the realm of possibility. I won’t lie, I was worried before I went off to school. I’d heard horror stories from people with awful roommates, as I’m sure you all have as well.
My roommate, Chad Kroeger, seemed nice enough on the first day. (No, I did not room with the lead singer of Nickelback; I doubt he is smart enough to attend college. I’m masking my roommate’s name, to protect his anonymity.) He was a bit on the shy side, but so am I, so that worked out nicely. I helped him move his stuff in, because I’m tall and was physically capable of lifting a microwave; he didn’t help me, because he was short and was not physically capable of lifting a microwave. For the first few weeks, we didn’t have much interaction. Other than, you know, sleeping five feet away from one another. But after a while, I realized that I was living with a pretty interesting person.
My roommate wasn’t the biggest fan of showers. I think he went through one bottle of body wash. One bottle. For the whole year. He would wash himself between once and twice a week, much like a hobo, or the people on that show Mountain Men on the History Channel. I imagine he would have done quite well in the Middle Ages, where cleanliness was generally neglected and the whole world stank like feet. Chad smelled like what I imagine Arnold Schwarzenegger smells like after he bench presses a herd of baby rhinos, or a full-sized Mack truck. But hey, to each his own. I thought maybe he was a hippie, trying to conserve water. Good for you, Chad. I just lit a little bit of incense and tried to keep his clothes from touching mine.
Chad was also a staunch advocate of the all-nighter, which wasn’t all that unique in college. However, an all-nighter to Chad didn’t mean an intense study session, or a party with robot music and glow sticks. Nope. Chad would buy a case of Red Bull, throw an anime video game into his Playstation 2, and stay up all night trying to beat it. I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt. We’ve all been into a video game before, and maybe this was his way of showing dedication to his craft. Maybe he was a world-famous gamer, like those guys you see on TV destroying people from around the world. That’d be cool. Was I living with a world-famous gamer?
I was not living with a world-famous gamer. As far as I could tell, Chad didn’t beat a single game he started. I’d go to bed, wake up a few hours later, and there he’d be, parked in front of the TV. But he didn’t ever wake me up or anything, so I didn’t have a big problem with it.
One day, Chad showed me his piece de resistance, the fantasy novel he’d been working on for over four years at that point. I tried to act excited for him, because clearly, this meant a lot to him. People don’t work on something for four years on a whim. The book was complete with illustrations, which I have to say were quite awful. I’m not a terribly gifted artist, but his drawings looked like something done by a six year old you’d see hanging up in a Denny’s. I didn’t say any of this to him, of course.
I often fantasized about putting in for a room transfer. Surely, I would be granted a better roommate than this. It was like living with Shrek, except there was no talking donkey and far fewer sing-along’s. In a perfect world, I would room with somebody that was somehow related to Brad Pitt, the greatest actor in the motion picture industry. I would be introduced to Brad, and we would become best friends. We would play putt-putt golf. He would let me win. I would drive Brad and the Buoys, his speedboat. He would introduce me to gorgeous women. I would go to Brad Pitt’s birthday party. I would be famous.
But I didn’t put in for a transfer. I’m many things; an awful dancer, an avid believer in aliens, very good at drinking chocolate milk; but a quitter isn’t one of them. I stuck out the whole year with Chad, and I like to think I’m better off for it. College is supposed to prepare you for life, and in life you’re going to meet a lot of weird, smelly people who don’t like the same things as you. It’s best to learn how to deal with them sooner rather than later.
Please, don’t think I wrote this to poke fun at Chad; and if you’re similar to Chad, please don’t think I’m trying to make a mockery of you. I’m writing this to illustrate that different people have different interests. That’s the beauty of life. I’m sure some of the things I did my freshman year drove Chad crazy, and if he’s done with his fantasy novel, he’s probably writing about me somewhere. Maybe I’m even an evil character in his book. I hope I’m a wizard. Wizards are badass. Chad, if you’re reading this, make me a wizard in your book.
The chances of you rooming with someone you’ll become lifelong friends with are pretty slim, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Make the most of it, and be nice to people, even if they’re different than you. But I digress. Good luck choosing a school, and have the time of your life while you’re there. And if you’re worried about your roommate, just remember Chad, and realize that you probably could’ve done worse.