You unlock the door after a moment of fumbling and walk in the first day of freshmen year, and your room is empty. You start to put away your clothes, set up your pictures, and roll your eyes at your parents last minute qualms about you “not having enough shampoo.” Suddenly, someone is jostling the door handle, and inwardly you wonder indignantly who would open your door without knocking.
Oh. Right. You have a roommate now. It’s their room too.
Your families make awkward small talk as you give the obligatory “hi-nice-to-meet-you-in-person” hug, and you both go to your sides of the room; her on the right side and you towards the window. After the farewells, tears, and last minute reminders are complete, you sit on your freshly made bed and try not to stare at the intruder of your personal living space.
“Well, I’ve got to go…” You trail off as you pick up your book bag and head out the door for new student orientation, trying to ignore the pang in your head from the sheer absurdity of it all. Here you are, at nineteen, and you have to learn how to share a room smaller than the one at home with a girl who is practically a stranger. Okay, you can do this. It can’t be that awkward for long, right?
It is so unbearably awkward, and it isn’t at all her fault. Your head automatically jerks up whenever she opens the door to come in, and your heart pounds as if someone is coming in to murder you. You glance at her when you are both working on assignments, and you want to say something funny, but when you do it is more of a mumbled remark she glances at you in confusion and simply nods. Beyond the overwhelming experience of new classes, new friends, and new parties, you don’t even feel comfortable in your own room! Ugh! It isn’t that you don’t get along, quite the opposite, but you are not friends. And that bothers you more than you would care to admit.
And even though every time you look at your phone, you are ready to ring up your parents and quit on this whole “college” thing, you remain resilient.
About a month into school, you are desperate, so you decide to try something.
“Hey, we should hang out with both of our groups of friends” you say causally one night, and she agrees readily and we plan to go to a burger place downtown on Friday. And on Friday, everyone shows up, and automatically it just works. You adore music and have performed for years, and since her friends are in the music department with her, you understand them immediately. Your friends are goofy, and her friends find that endearing and not annoying! And at the end of the successful night, after everyone has gone home after watching “Burlesque” on your roommate’s little TV, you both talk and laugh about the craziness that ensued.
And it was that night, sitting in our dorm room and bonding over our love of everything chocolate, that I truly became friends with my roommate. She is wonderful, and hilarious, and a little too much like me at times. And it totally works.
From attending renaissance fairs, to loving the same throwback song “Stacy’s Mom,” to both being Altos in our vocal parts. We will be talking about existential issues one moment, to laughing about our favorite Disney movies the next.
Everyone tells you not to expect to be best friends with your freshmen year roommate, and I didn’t expect it at all. I knew we would both have our own lives and friends. I knew that we
just needed to get along with one another, and nothing more.
And I was wrong on all accounts.
She soon became one of my closest friends, my favorite light night snack buddy, and one of the most intelligent and emotionally mature people I have ever had the pleasure to know. Her friends are my friends, and my friends are hers. And with pink blankets and Harry Potter paraphernalia on my side and blue pillows and a Marvel poster on hers, we live in personality clashing chaos.
I: the outspoken, bubbly, people-pleasing education and English major.
Her: the sporty, sarcastic, introspective music therapy major.
I will never be more thankful for that one night where I nervously asked if we could hang out, because if I hadn’t, I may never have truly known one of my best friends.
Even now, when I drive her crazy with my rambling, and she sleeps for hours on my beanbag chair, we find a way to make it work. Living in close quarters with another person is difficult, but I am blessed to say there hasn’t been a single day where I regretted choosing to live with my crazy, musical, introverted, red-haired roomie. As the school year draws to a close, and we have to pack up and say goodbye, I feel so dejected. I don’t know what I’ll do without her this summer!
One second, my roommate’s interrupting me: “Mary Kate! Stop writing! I want to get food and watch Friends!”
Anyways, what was I saying about missing my (bossy) roommate this summer? Oh yeah, well, I guess it’s a good we are living together again next fall!