Living with strangers

 

Finding a place to live in college — whether it be a house, dorm or apartment — can be stressful and time consuming. Roommates are a considerable part of the "college experience," but finding people who can live unproblematically together can seem impossible.

Many roommates start out as friends before move-in day. But with a new environment and circumstances, freshmen may find themselves caught up in uncomfortable situations. Living in close quarters with someone for the first time can quickly become awkward, and conflict can arise from small disagreements.

Public health junior Tatum Gillespie said she and her roommate started off on good terms, but her roommate's boyfriend sparked an opposition between them. Since they lived in the same room, Gillespie found it hard to ignore the problems that began shortly after move-in day.

"Her boyfriend was a jacka--," Gillespie said. "He literally called me ugly. He spent the night in our room, walked around in his underwear and kissed her neck in front of me."

Communication is essential when dealing with roommate discrepancies. Expressing concerns can help clear the air and possibly avoid friction. However, handling the situation can often be one-sided.

Gillespie said she was uncomfortable with her boyfriend sleeping over every weekend, but her concerns were met with hostility.

"She said she could not live with someone who hates her boyfriend,” Gillespie said. “Then she did not talk to me, quietly packed up her stuff and moved out one day. I didn't even know she was leaving."

On top of the workload and extracurriculars, coming home to a house full of unusual personalities can be exhausting for students. Management junior Rachel Dexter said her roommates are among the weirdest people she knows.

"One of my roommates invites people over to throw our eggs at our fence when they are stressed," Dexter said. "I think it has occurred at least three times this semester, but those are only the times I have heard or witnessed it."

After a while of living with someone else, people typically get used to the habits and routines of their roommates. But for Dexter, pranks and jokes are something she just can't get behind.

Another one of Dexter’s three roommates uses a “Star Wars” lightsaber anytime she hears a suspicious sound around the house. Dexter said another roommate asked her to check if her clothes were dry, but she was met with a surprise guest in the laundry room.

"My third roommate bought a life-size cardboard cutout of Rey from ‘Star Wars’ and put it in our laundry room and waited until one of us walked in," Dexter said. "It was one of the most terrifying moments of my life."

Journalism freshman Peyton Reed also experienced interesting situations when it came to his roommate. Reed said his roommate and his schedules never lined up, and he was always left with sleepless nights.

"My roommate would always curse and yell at himself," Reed said. "He would listen to music out loud with the volume way up, and he did these things at ungodly hours of the night."

Reed said he often joked about buying his roommate headphones as a gift just so he would not have to listen to his music while trying to study or sleep. He said his roommate's hygiene was not the most desirable either.

"He clips his toenails and shaves on his desk and uses my microwave without asking," Reed said.

While having roommates can sometimes feel like a burden, their oddities can make for a great story to tell friends and family. Reed said when he told people his roommate played a unique instrument, many did not believe him.

"My roommate actually started playing the kazoo when I was home," Reed said. "While the music he listened to was not mainstream, he would play kazoo covers of songs like ‘Old Town Road’ and ‘Thriller.’ He definitely was a character."

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