This fall will be my final year of university. This means my final year of sleeping in on weekdays, taking
naps over my lunch hour and wearing a steady uniform of hoodies and jeans. This also marks my final
year of being a university student with a roommate. I acknowledge that I have an entire lifetime of living
with others ahead of me, but the university roommate experience is so unique that all other experiences
will be incomparable.
My first three years of school have seen three different roommates. That sounds like a lot of people, but keep in mind that I did transfer schools after my first year, and that I haven’t had a roommate situation that ended with extremely hurt feelings. Maybe a few choice words sent over text, but nothing that couldn’t be smoothed over with a half-hearted apology.
What I’ve enjoyed most about living with a variety of people has been learning how to deal with other people’s quirks. I’ve lived with OCD clean freaks and people with no interest in doing dishes. I’ve lived with wannabe gourmet chefs and those whose cooking skill doesn’t make it past Kraft Dinner. And I’ve dealt with every mood from hysterical happiness to locked-in-her-room-not-speaking-to-me sullenness.
It’s great to know how to deal with people of all sorts. It’s like my mom says: “It takes all kinds.” But most importantly, I’ve learned a lot about myself, both as a roommate and as a person in general. I now know that I use a lot of glasses for one person, and that keeping two people’s food organized in a tiny kitchen with a small fridge is a work of extreme cleverness. I’ve learned that I can be awful to live with around a certain time of the month. I also know that I’m responsible and mature enough to take care of a pet, but definitely not mature enough to have it taken away.
I’ve also learned that the absolute worst part of having a roommate in university is finding a new roommate when one moves out, especially when you’re 20 years old and going into your final year. All of my friends currently have roommates. All of their friends have roommates. And I feel way too old to live with recent grads. I mean, I know what I was like when I was 17 and I have no interest in living with that.
So university roommates are a real life experience, from the ones you’re assigned by the school to those you choose, then regret, then miss when they’re gone. It’s the steepest learning curve there is: learning how to live away from home while also living with someone else who’s learning how to live away from home.
Tonaya Marr has found a roommate to last until February 2013, at which time she will be looking for her fifth roommate. If you’re interested, send Tonaya an e-mail at tonaya.m...@gmail.com or send her a tweet @TonayaMarr.