Sunday, August 9, 2009


I knew this was bound to come up. The dreaded roommate discussion.

I've had a long history of bad roommates. I remember taking a summer program with one girl who accused me of breaking her computer, stealing her food (both of which I didn't do), and  subsequently put a "DON'T TOUCH MY SHIT" sign on the refrigerator (what a mature way of dealing with things!), and whined about me to all her friends. I'm glad that summer ended when it did. 

A few years later, it was my first year of college, and I was stuck with the coldest girl I'd ever met. No matter my efforts to be friendly, she was very rude - she even made nasty comments to me regarding my religious upbringing, and got angry at me when I confronted her about her snoring. I wish I'd left that situation early on and moved out - though I probably wasn't the best roommate either, clearly we weren't a good fit, and if your home base isn't relaxing, then what is? It's stressful knowing that the one place where you're supposed to recuperate is designed to make your life a living hell. 

As much as I wanted to share a room with others, I soon learned that I couldn't - I'm the type of person who needs plenty of alone time to recover from everyday interactions. It also doesn't help knowing that my positive interactions are with people I hardly ever see, since I run out of things to say very quickly, and if I spend too much time with a person my awkwardness probably makes them very uncomfortable. In summary, if I don't get at least a few hours of alone time a day I become miserable and can hardly function. I'm the perfect candidate for a single, and that's okay. It means your belongings are in the exact same place as you left them, also that your roommate won't leave the TV on all night. It means you won't be sexiled from your room, either. 

Enter sophomore year. I opted for a single within an apartment-style suite, shared with three other girls. It was wonderful because we all had our personal space, but would see each other when we didn't want to be alone. The other girls were very easygoing, and if a concern came up we'd deal with it immediately, in an appropriate manner. We also took care of one another when something difficult came up. 

We weren't best friends, but then I learned that we didn't have to be. The only requirement for living with roommates is that you get along, and are able to tolerate each other's weird living habits. It was a very relaxing environment and I had no problem leaving my room. Though there were always people socializing in my living room, I could go lie down in my bedroom and relax by myself, and it would be okay. These are the way things ought to be. 

In summary, here's what I'd recommend: If you're out all the time, and use your room merely as a place to store clothes, then it shouldn't matter if you have a roommate. If you require a lot of alone time, then it may be more peaceful if you don't have to deal with fulfilling another person's needs. 

If you're worried about making friends your first year of college while having a single, then hear this: you're probably going to be living on a floor with a number of other students. It's perfectly appropriate to spontaneously knock on others' doors just to introduce yourself, and there will be plenty of events where you can get to know people and make new friends. Some of this should be built into orientation as well. It is exhausting, but if you don't retreat into your room for days at a time, I'm sure you'll be able to meet some people you like.  

1 comment:

Steve Florman said...

The luckiest break I ever got was being assigned to a single room in my dorm for my freshman and sophomore years. Worst mistake in college (other than that one girlfriend who turned out to be a psycho, and that's an aspie story too) was moving into my fraternity as a junior.

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