Living with roommates is too crazy, and living without them is too boring. David Postic takes a look at the dilemma and offers some solutions.
Friend or Foe: Roommates
Roommates. Let us take a moment to break down that word. Room: space. Mate: friend. Put those together, and what we get is that a “roommate” is a “space friend” – otherwise known as an alien. And sometimes that can be exactly what a roommate is.
Choosing roommates can be a challenging and gruesome process, similar to listening to Nickelback. Many factors go into making this decision, but the simple truth is that you never really know what you are getting yourself into.
The first issue you must address with roommates is whether you will live with friends or go potluck. Here is a quick checklist you need to go through before you answer that question:
- Are your friends annoying?
- Can you live with annoying people?
- Can annoying people live with you?
- Will you hate yourself at the end of the semester for living with these people?
- Does one of these potential roommates have a Nintendo 64?
If you have not had a roommate in the past, take heed of this lesson: you do not have to be best friends with your roommates, but you do have to be able to live with them.
“I look for similar habits, expectations and lifestyle,” says Rachel Hill, management information systems and marketing junior.
Living with your friends also greatly reduces your chances of having a serial killer or drug addict for a roommate . . . unless you are friends with those types of people. In which case, maybe you should go potluck.
So you have chosen So-And-So and What’s-His-Face as your roommates. Now what? Well, now you get to enjoy the ever-so-sweet phenomenon experienced by roommates everywhere, known as the Honeymoon Effect, or the “School Hasn’t Started Yet” Syndrome.
Those first few weeks of new roommates can be a blast: N64 parties, movie nights, everything working together as smoothly as a High School Musical number.
Then it gets weird. You start to learn things about your roommates you never really wanted to know. You figure out what about them gets under your skin, and you start to realize that this person is not at all who you thought they were.
This leads to the true test in any roomlationship: the first fight. As sitcom great Ally McBeal once said, “I don’t need to pay a therapist to give me crap. I have a roommate that does it for free.”
Here is a tip for roommate conflict management: get the issue out in the open before it can fester. Handle the situation before it gets big and makes everything a whole lot worse.
“If I’m not happy with something, I’ll try and suggest a compromise. Your roommate will probably be a lot more willing to work with you if you do the same for them,” says Kira Godinet, international and area studies senior.
No matter how you go about resolving things, the key to surviving a year with roommates is to recognize that there is in fact a problem. Do not let one tiny, unresolved issue ruin your whole roommate experience. You never know when that first fight will strike, but as sure as America loves freedom, it will.
Now it is the end of the year and you are moving out of your apartment/house/tent. And guess what? You survived. How do you feel?
The end of the year will tell you what you really think about those people you lived with. Some people hate each other and will never speak again. Others live with some of the same people again. Bryan Kendall, sociology senior, says that after several years of roommates, he still hangs out with many of them to this day.
Ultimately, continuing a relationship with your roommates (post-roomlationship) is all up to you. If you want to live with them again, then remember you are always on a schedule: most apartments and houses start filling up far before the end of spring semester. So make a decision about who you want to live with and get the ball rolling.
You may read this article and think, “Now I’m really nervous about choosing a roommate. What if I live with a crazy person?” If you ever happen to live with a crazy person, do everyone a favor and contact your local authorities.
For all the horror stories and nightmare scenarios you may choose to believe, there are always multiple sides to every tale. It all depends on how you choose to look at it.
Melanie Duran, broadcast and electronic media sophomore, offers this advice: “College is all about experiencing new things, and there will be no other time in your life when you will be able to room with some of the most creative, smart and witty people that this life has to offer.”
When it comes to the roommate experience, only one thing is certain: it will always be an adventure.
Happy roomie hunting.