Having a Roommate

Wednesday, July 16, 2014



N and I on move out day, pre-tears and last dance session to "Talk Dirty"

If you haven't received your rooming information for fall semester, you will soon, and that is one of the scariest parts of the year. For my school, all they sent us was a single sheet of paper telling us our room number and, in my case, who the other three girls in my quad were. Their phone numbers were listed as well as their e-mail addresses. That's it. I didn't know what cities they were from or their majors or their hobbies. Naturally, I googled their area codes just to see their general area of living because I had to know what I was getting myself into!

Once you get your room assignment and find out who your roommates are, where do you go from there? I know I was hesitant to contact my actual roommate (I'll cover the actual set-up of my room in another post, but basically it was a suite with two bedrooms) because, hello, what if she was deranged? I had flashbacks of that Zoey 101 episode when Victoria Justice's character pretends to be a goth girl.  That show ruined me for this small portion of my life that I completely blew out of proportion.

M and I before our thrilling (not) viewing of Life of Pi for a freshmen requirement.

It took about a week for any of us to contact each other. My roommate was the first to start, giving us a small paragraph of her name, where she was from, her major, and a couple of things about her. Next was one of my suitemates, then it was my turn. This was my exact e-mail. Short and very simple, but we were strangers, so that's all we really needed. I wasn't going to list my entire catalog of favorite songs or let them know which movies I cry to every single time without a fail (13 Going On 30, the scene where Jennifer Garner goes back home and "Vienna" by Billy Joel plays).

Hi guys! I figured I'd send this e-mail out before I go on vacation this week. :)

I'm Francesca and I'm from NF, New York (or Buffalo, whichever you guys have heard of). I'm majoring in Journalism and Promotional Communications.  I'm generally pretty easy going and relaxed.

My cell is 716-***-**** and I'll have it with me while I'm gone so feel free to text me or e-mail whenever. :D

Talk to you guys soon!

Francesca Gariano
That was it. It's really that easy. It was the best way, I think, for the four of us to communicate without getting too in over our heads. The rest of our conversations, always via e-mail, related to who was going to bring what for our kitchen and living room area. M brought the set of four TV trays and the large garbage bin, S brought the vacuum and enough hot chocolate to last the entire year, N brought the miscellaneous items (i.e. lamps, posters, towels, and a stereo), and I brought the TV and shelves for our food AKA our makeshift pantry LOL. I also had a separate e-mail conversation with my actual roommate to correspond who was going to bring what for the room, which ended up only being a shower curtain and mat, both provided by me.

N and I being losers near the stadium.
Fast forward a month to move-in day, the day of reckoning. I'm only kidding. Move in day is when you finally meet your roommates face-to-face, a moment that made me so nervous that I felt nauseous in the hours leading up to it. I met my suitemate S and her family briefly when I first went up to the sixth floor, then followed by my roommate M. The fourth member of the quad showed up late (N), but she and M were in my orientation group, so we chatted during our spare moments then.

It wasn't until that night that the four of us sat down in the living room and just talked. We filled out this roommate agreement form, basically detailing rules for the room for the year that we all agreed upon without compromising anything. That was definitely a way that we all got to know each other and our values. After we finished that, we chatted about where we went to school and our majors some more. Right off the bat we all realized that we were going to at least get along as roommates. And sometimes, that's all that matters. I think a lot of people think that you have to be best friends with the people you live with, but in all honesty, being able to tolerate them is much more important.

It took me one semester to realize that I didn't have to be best friends with my roommate. I really did like her for the first couple of months. Then, things happened and I really didn't want to be friends with her any longer. Despite this, I could still tolerate living with her. Her mess stayed on her side of the room, she gave me candy, and until the end of the year, she didn't have visitors every night that kept me out of my bedroom.  In the end, I became best friends with my suitemate N and remained friendly with M and S. Funny how things work out in the end.

N and I glammed up to crash a ball and steal brownies. We walked to B2B five minutes later to get fries and milkshakes, still in our heels and gowns. 
There are a few simple rules to living with others, and it all comes down to being courteous. Don't leave a mess that travels to their side of the room. Do your dishes, clean your hair out of the drain if you have a personal bathroom. Don't let them be the only person who buys toilet paper. Ask them if they need anything if you're going out. If you're going to have guests, tell them in advance. Wear headphones if you're both in the room. If they're in the room and you need to make a personal phone call, try to find a quiet place to do so. If you can't, let them know that you'll be done in a moment. It's the little things like this that make somebody that much more tolerable to live with.

Also, do not be afraid to talk to your roommates. N liked to chill in the living room most of the time, which was where the TV was. I watch a lot of television series that are still on the air, meaning I had TV shows to watch almost every night of the week. I felt too awkward to ask her if I could watch them on the TV that I brought, so I would wait until they'd show up online the next day. After weeks of this nonsense, I sat down five minutes before my TV show and asked if she minded if I watched TV and if she wanted to watch with me. Guess what happened? She said yes to both and we ended up watching all of my shows together. Boom. It was that easy, and I spent weeks to terrified to ask her one simple question.

If there's anything that you take away from this post, let it be these two points:

1. Always be courteous.

but

2. You do not have to be best friends with your roommates.

Living with strangers is not the scariest thing in the world. As long as you know this, you will be just fine come the beginning of the semester. Best of luck!

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