Imagine living in a shoebox-sized room, forced to coexist with a complete stranger for eight months. On the surface, this may sound like a nightmare, but living with a roommate — especially in college — is something everyone should experience in their lifetime.
Your bedroom is a sacred place. It is where you sleep, get dressed, do homework, binge YouTube videos and get most of your alone time. It can be hard to give up, but sharing this space can lead to great memories and, more importantly, self-growth.
If you are lucky enough to get close to your roommate, you will have someone to vent to and share secrets with. There will be sleepless nights, where instead of studying, you both decide to tell your life stories. You will learn so much about each other within the first month of living together that you would think you have known each other your whole lives.
Of course, it will not always be sunshine and rainbows. At some point, you will see each other at your worst. College can be a very stressful time of change in your life. For some, stress and mental breakdowns will be a normal occurrence.
Having a roommate in college may seem like a minuscule part of your life, but even with short-run experiences, you can learn lifelong skills that will prepare you for the real world.
If you think you will always get along, news flash: you will not. When you sign up to be a roommate, you also sign up for compromise. No two people are alike, and despite sharing similar interests, there will be times when you will disagree and argue with each other.
Your roommate will have a different vision of a clean room, an early morning or late night and even quiet time. Your way will not always be the highway, because guess what, the world will not always revolve around you, but ultimately, you will learn to cohabitate.
Before college, I never shared a room and I thought the world revolved around me. In just eight months of sharing a room, I quickly realized I was wrong. I learned how to make sacrifices, sympathize and communicate honestly and effectively.
For example, after a stressful day at school, all I would want to do is lay in my bed and relax. There were times where I would come to our dorm and hear “Les Misérables” blasting from the speakers. I had to accept the situation — even though I despised musicals.
During exam week, I pulled all-nighters six days out of seven. This also meant that my light would stay on and that my alarm clock would not suffice as the only method to wake me up in the morning. Even though she probably was, my roommate did not seem bothered by the lights and always made sure I was awake for my exams.
On our first night living together, I went to a party and my roommate stayed in our dorm. At 1 a.m., I was calling my roommate because I lost my wallet and keys. Without hesitation, she hopped on the P2P and helped me look through Franklin Street for them.
Your experience with a roommate will probably be different than mine, and the bond you two share will be unexplainable to outsiders. Nonetheless, it is a unique and beautiful experience. If you are considering moving in with a roommate, I suggest you try it, even if it is for one year — the results can help dictate your future plans.