I have had a room to myself since I was born. I always had a lot of space to move and a lot of privacy. I preferred to be alone, and little noises when I was working tended to distract me. So imagine my mental discomfort with being thrust into a small living space with another person who I hadn’t even met yet! A little scary.
My roommate Amanda and I had found each other on Facebook, and we had talked a little before moving in to college. However, there is only so much you can learn about a person through Facebook. I didn’t know her sleeping habits, her study habits, what her voice sounded like or how clean she actually kept her room at home. There were so many unknown factors that going into college I was very nervous and excited about the prospect of having Amanda as my roommate.
Though we have only been on campus since Friday, Amanda has already started to become one of my very good friends. This whole adventure has taught me some valuable life lessons. Here is a list of the most important things that my roommate has taught me so far:
1. Family comes first. My roommate is a very family-oriented person. I absolutely adore my family, but I wasn’t half as homesick as Amanda. She calls her parents, aunts and friends every night. Between the friends I lost touch with from high school, and Amanda’s love and dedication to her family, I realized that my family are the only people who will truly ever be there through everything. I should love and cherish them. (And call my mother more often!)
2. Dorm rooms are tiny. However, the overall size of the room doesn’t matter as much as how you utilize your space. Amanda and I managed to clear up a large amount of space. We can fit six people, seated in chairs, in our little living area. Everything is organized and stored in a designated space, and we freed up room and made it a lot more easy to live in this small space.
3. Anywhere can feel like home. We have both put up posters, photos and memories from back home. Our room is filled with color, light and personal touches that reflect our personalities. My fish Freddie made the two-hour journey to college with me, and Amanda brought a plant. We both supplied posters, photos, bright bedding, personal mementos — everything we need to make sure our space feels like home.
4. You can find something in common with anyone. I guarantee that you have at least one thing in common with every other freshman on campus — you are new. Simply introducing yourself can be a great conversation starter. Everyone is just as nervous, homesick, excited, tired and friendly as you. And if you talk enough, you will find that you probably have something else in common too — sports, TV shows, movies, music, hobbies, classes. Amanda has taught me to break out of my comfort zone.
5. Make time for roommate chats. You are going to be living with your roommate for a long time. Make sure you set aside time to get to know them well. Having an open line of communication helps resolve problems and possibly prevent them before they show up.
6. Introduce your roommate to your friends. Having the same group of friends as your roommate can be great! You two can go to the same events and not have to worry about waking the other when coming in late.
7. Make friends other than your roommate. Sometimes your roommate will go home for the weekend or maybe one of you will have a test or homework and the other doesn’t. Make sure that you make other friends, too. You never want to be without someone to talk to.
8. Set aside an hour of alone time per day. Even if you are the most outgoing person in the whole world and get along great with everyone you meet, never underestimate the power of alone time. Go for a walk by yourself, hang out in a secluded part of the library or just go back to your room when you know your roommate is in class.
9. Enjoy every moment of your college experience. For the next four years, your main responsibility is to learn. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have fun. At my college, almost all activities on campus are free — graffiti parties, foam parties, paintball on the freshman quad. I auditioned for choir and am taking private voice lessons for the first time in my life. There are movies to watch, trips to take and friendships to make.
ABOUT THIS SERIES:
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