We envisioned the worst simply because college independence meant having to deal with problems and compromise beyond what we were used to in high school. We were used to chore lists on refrigerator doors. We had grown accustomed to sharing with our brothers and sisters, whether it was that last slice of cake or our favorite turquoise sweater. Many of us had been brought up to expect packed lunches to take with us in the morning or a parent to pick us up when we finished lacrosse practice early.
All of these expectations were sure to change with that email from the housing department. Not only would home be at a new address, but it would contain new people with habits we might not have been used to or backgrounds we didn’t understand. Some of us got lucky; others were met by less-than-satisfying circumstances. But I feel that by now we’ve learned to deal with it or at least have had the courage to approach someone who can guide us through alleviating problem dynamics.
Unfortunately, this past week hit freshmen with a second round of fears — this time in the form of room draw, a process that will allow us to choose our roommates and preferred rooms in whatever two-year guaranteed residential college we are already in. With the novelty of choice, we no longer are at the mercy of the completely random, seemingly fair lottery process. Instead, we have to make a decision about which person or people we think we would be able to survive a year with — based on only a few months of getting to know one another. The implications of having a choice means that there will be no one to blame for our incompatibilities should it not work out, so we really can’t take the situation lightly.
This past semester taught us all the little things to look out for, lest they turn into big things that made living together unbearable. We now have to consider a laundry list of factors. If we like our roommates too much, we may not get to meet new people or get our work done. If our interests don’t complement each other or our sleeping schedules conflict, it’s as if we’re asking for a year of repressed bitterness and resentment.
And if we end up not being compatible, we have to take into account how much our friendship means to us. Admitting that you’re better as friends than roomies can threaten any relationship. No one ever wants to hear, “I love you, but I can’t stand living with you.” But it is true that there is a clear distinction between being friends and being roommates, as the latter requires a consistency in lifestyle that friendship does not. While you might love your friend’s bubbling enthusiasm and social-butterfly nature, it may not be your pace. This is something we have to understand and consider before we click that submit button come March.
This new semester in which we consider housing reintroduces us to the question of who we are. In a way, it reflects everything that college intrinsically is — learning to identify ourselves through our associations with others. First semester was an adjustment period. It was the first step in learning who we want to be, whether through classes, extracurricular activities, or, in this case, roommate interactions. We have come to realize new things about ourselves that we wouldn’t have known had we not experienced those gratifying or discordant relationships. Never as much as we do now, we have come to understand that the people we identify with essentially form our identity.
Isabella Gomes is a freshman from Irvine, Calif. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Reader Comments (0)
No comments yet. Be the first to post your opinion on this article.