Anyone who has ever lived in a college dorm with a roommate can attest to the fact that it can be straight-up awkward. Even if you wind up loving your roommate and becoming best friends forever, the first few days, weeks, months can be super uncomfortable.
Not only are you in an entirely new environment, but now you’re forced to LIVE with a stranger in a room that could very well be smaller than your bathroom back home. Up until that point, you have probably only lived with your family and spent the occasional night at a friend’s house – probably a friend who you have known for years.
Maybe you went to sleep away camp and spent a week or two in a cabin. I, for one, really disliked sleep away camp and forced my mom to come and stay in the cabin with me and about ten 12-year olds. Have I mentioned that I’m the worst? That experience did nothing to soothe my fears about college living since we weren’t allowed to have overnight guests at school, so my mom would have had to sleep in the car or something.
Anyways, now you find yourself trying to juggle living away from home, starting classes, making friends, and sharing some seriously close quarters with someone who could very well be a lunatic. If you’re lucky and you end up with a nice, friendly person, you can breathe a sigh of relief that they probably won’t steal your stuff or pull up a chair and watch you while you sleep, but even still, you’re going to start off with a lot of overly-polite chit chat while you walk around on eggshells and try to establish a routine.
I ended up rooming with a lovely, hysterical, polite and friendly girl named Liz. We became great friends and we roomed together all 4 years of college and would spend nights laughing until we barfed. We even got a fish together – if there is a clearer sign of commitment than a Japanese fighting fish, I haven’t seen it.
That being said, our first few weeks together weren’t completely comfortable. We are both people-pleasers and I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a negative word uttered for the first month. We didn’t want to offend the other one or put the other one out, and we ended up in situations like me eating Ramen noodles in the dark because Liz was asleep, or Liz getting up hours early for class so that I wouldn’t feel bad about making noise in the morning.
One morning in particular during our first week at school, I was awakened from a deep slumber by Liz.
Liz: um…Chrissy? Hey, Chrissy?
Me [a little annoyed at being woken up before my alarm]: Yes?
Liz: What’s so funny?
Liz: What’s so funny?
Me: …I have no idea. What do you mean?
Liz: Oh, well I was just asking because you were laughing pretty hard, so I was just wondering what was so funny.
The poor girl had woken up in a dark room in a new place to the sound of her creepshow new roommate LAUGHING.
I was mortified. This was the first I had ever heard of me laughing in my sleep and it was brought to my attention by the stranger with whom I was now sharing a mini-fridge. She was probably horrified and wondering how long it would take the housing office to find her a less creepy roommate. Being the insanely polite person that she is, she brushed it off and we were able to laugh about it – together, mind you, not just by ourselves in our sleep – later.
I had a beta fish with my college roommate too. We are best friends to this day…maybe there is something to that commitment.
How nice! I think we’re on to something. Beta fish=lifelong friendship. It’s as easy as that!