Coping with college roommate can be challenging

by CHANISE RAY//Staff Writer

Living with a complete stranger may seem like no big deal.

But just wait until you want to wear your favorite pair of boots to class and they’re not in the closet. Then, you notice the note your roommate left on the door telling you she borrowed your boots.

Growing up in a household with two sisters and one brother, the option of sharing wasn’t an option at all. Although the occasional fights would occur between my sisters and I over new clothes I liked to borrow without asking and hair products that I never said they could use, I learned to just accept the fact that what was mine was theirs and vice versa.

Having a roommate was something that I was very used to, sharing a room with my sisters, using things without asking and so forth. I wasn’t doing it to be disrespectful; it was just how I grew up. Some people, especially only children I have noticed, are usually more possessive with their things because they are not used to sharing with anyone else. It was a big adjustment, because I didn’t feel like I was doing anything wrong. If my roommate wanted to borrow something of mine, I would let her.

Getting shipped off to college, obviously I knew all of the stereotypes, such as, “You and your roommates will probably be best friends” and “Having a roommate is great because you can wear all their clothes.” Some students at some colleges get to choose their roommates by finding someone similar to them that they feel like they can get along with for a whole year. For my first semester at South Plains, I was given a random roommate. As someone who is very socially awkward, it is very hard to make friends and be outgoing with people I don’t know. My roommate and I barely spoke; we just went about our days only communicating when one of us had company, or when we were going to be gone for the weekend. It didn’t bother me much. It was just a lessoned learned.

This semester, I share my dorm with a close friend of mine who also happens to be on my basketball team. Lidia is her name, and she is from Spain. If you’ve ever been to Spain or met someone from Spain, you would know a lot of things we do in America are not normal to them, and a lot of things they do in Spain are not normal to us. It is not a major change living with Lidia, but it definitely has its challenges. She probably also feels the same way about me.

Sometimes I borrow things of Lidia’s without asking, or eat some of her food. At first, I could tell she did mind when I did those things, and I am not saying she is wrong for feeling this way at all. Even the best of friends bump heads being roommates, especially because being around someone so much can make you go a little crazy at times. Roommates are cool, though. It’s a chance to meet people from all different walks of life and get to know them on a personal level, sometimes more personal than one may like.

I know it’s college and people have boyfriends. In some relationships, sex is a reality, but having a roommate makes this act almost impossible. I’ve heard many stories from my friends where their roommate would come back to the dorm wasted and have sex with a random person, knowing that their roommate was awake and could hear them.

Some people are OK with that because they figure “hey, it’s college.” My personal opinion on the matter is, talk to your roommate before you have company over. Maybe they will either find somewhere else to go, or give you some time alone in the room before they get back. Don’t just have sex in the room while your roommate is in there unless they have already expressed to you that it is OK.

It is important for your roommate to know where you are in case something happens. Simply just send a text or write a note and leave it somewhere that your roommate can see it. Maybe your roommate won’t care, but just do it so at least someone will know where you are. Although my roommate and I were not very close, she would sometimes leave me notes telling me she wasn’t going to be in the dorm that weekend or that she’d be in a little late. I appreciated that a lot, because it’s nice to know when she was going to come back so that if I did want to have company over I could.

Nothing irritates me more than living with someone who lives in a mess, especially in areas that we share, such as the bathroom, or, if you live in Smallwood, the kitchen area. It puts your roommate in an awkward situation, because then they have to be the one to say clean up and they don’t know how you’ll react to that.

Just clean your room. Obviously, it is college and everyone is very busy running around from class to class. For athletes, that includes practice and so forth. Sometimes you get back to your dorm and you just want to throw all your books, shoes, backpack, and clothes to the floor. Make time to clean it later when you have the energy.

The experiences I had with my roommates are going to be different from everyone. Some people meet their roommate and do become best friends. The biggest part of living with a complete stranger is being respectful.

In the rare case that you just cannot stand your current roommate, there are ways of dealing with that. As for some advice, get to know your roommate first before you judge him or her. There may be a reason that they never clean up, or, use all of your things. You never know what someone is going through.

College is about meeting new people and learning new things. Start with your roommate and see how far you get.

Author: Plainsman Press Staff

The student newspaper of South Plains College.

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