April 21, 2012

Roommates (revisited)

I have had my share of roommates. No, really, I have.

The very first one dated back to the Summer of 2004. I attended a pre-college program at the University of Maryland -- College Park and they just chose a roommate for me. She was BIG and scary looking, although she turned out to be kind of nice. There were some underlying issues that I had with her, but overall, I was able to handle them.

Freshman year of college, I had the nice roommate. She was my first friend in college and we got along exceptionally well. The only problem I had with her was the uncleanliness. I come from a house that was cleaned from top to bottom (by myself) every. single. weekend. and to live in a messy little 16'x12' room for the duration of the school term was almost unbearable. I tried to throw hints at her by cleaning my side of the room every once in a while, but it didn't matter much. Although, when she got the cleaning bug, she got it good and her side would be spic and span in no time.

My roomie freshman year decided to transfer schools and so I was received another roomie sophomore year. She was nice too. We had a few science classes the year before, she was pretty quiet and stayed to herself, and we had many friends in common. We had some good times overall. However, she did have a boyfriend who visited quite often. Once again, it is awkward sharing a tiny space with another individual. Luckily, I had friends who lived in dorms close by and allowed me to spend the weekend there to avoid the awkwardness.

Junior year, I had a third roommate. I was hoping to get a single this year, but my housing lottery number failed to grant me that option. This roommate was one year my junior, and I would classify her as an okay roommate. We bonded over Arthur (yes, we were indeed college students), Private Practice and Greys Anatomy, but I hardly knew her and that caused a strain in our little dorm environment. Nevertheless, we got through the academic year and all was well.

Senior year, I finally got that single I was banking for since sophomore year. It was lovely. I didn't have to deal with anyone else. I was as loud as I wanted to be, kept the lights on all night for my late-night study sessions, and I didn't have to feel a sense or awkwardness or share a small living space with someone I hardly knew. This was the same case my first year of graduate school I luckily got a 2 bedroom apartment and no roommate. I did not have to deal with the stress of sharing a niche with some one else.

Fast-forward to my second semester of graduate school. I am still living in graduate housing, but this time, I'm in a house. It's a pretty big house, and my housemate and I have our own rooms, so the only space we do share is the kitchen, bathroom and maybe the outside deck when it gets warmer. I've identified many of my dislikes regarding this housemate early in the semester, but many of them still remain. She doesn't know me. I get that. Other than my major, my schedule, and my engagement, she knows very little else about me. That is because we usually lock ourselves in our rooms and only speak concerning the internet/cable bill/mail/leaking roofs or when we happen to cross paths in the kitchen. I get all of that. What I fail to understand is why she still locks her room door when going to the the bathroom, magically pulls out a supply of toilet/ paper towel when the roll is low to avoid using the last bit of it, or takes all of her things to the recycling bin leaving my one or two containers behind, or even why this always happens whenever I enter the house.


I feel as though I'm going off on a rant and that was not the purpose of this post. I only wanted to discuss the pattern I have observed while living with roommates/housemates. There is always a level of discomfort when living with other people, but I have always managed to make it work and get through it. I understand the dismay of living with unfamiliar people,  but why make it more daunting and unpleasant? We don't have to become best friends, but it would be nice to at least feel comfortable in my living space.

What are your thoughts/advice on dealing with roommate awkwardness?

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