Last year as a freshman, I was one of the lucky ones that managed to get a single room. To be honest, it was a relief knowing that I'd always have someplace to myself, an area where I could just lock a door and not worry about being barged in on. I didn't need to worry about a roommate waking me up early in the morning, stealing my stuff, or just being generally creepy five feet from where I slept. Having that single was a security blanket, one I'm glad I had. Technically, I'm still living in a single--but the suite setting going on on the third floor of Anderson is kind of like having roommates for the first time.
There are seven rooms in our little section of Anderson--one main room, one bathroom, and five residential rooms. There are nine of us that live here, 6 girls and 3 guys, all of us sophomores. I admit that after living alone for two semesters I was still scared by the notion that I'd be sharing a room with someone I didn't know very well, so I lobbied hard for the only closet single in the suite. With an odd number of guys, it made sense for one of us to get the single to avoid any co-ed room sharing arrangements, and since the other two weren't nearly as vocal as I was about getting that single, it basically fell into my lap. I still have the perks of having a space to myself and an assurance of privacy, but thanks to the way this space is laid out, I see my fellow suitemates constantly.
The fact that we only have one bathroom between the 9 of us looks tough to deal with on paper, especially since two-thirds of us are female. We house one of the only co-ed bathrooms on the entire campus, which takes some careful manuevering to avoid any awkward moments involving our one shower. Luckily, we've worked out a system that allows individuals to request privacy by sticking a whiteboard on the bathroom door. All we have to do is write "Guy showering" or "Girl showering," or even simply "Don't come in," and then privacy is promised for those few, hygenic minutes. After all, just down the hall on the other side of the floor at the same-sex bathrooms if we were in any sort of bathroom emergency.
What makes the suite so appealing and so much like an actual roommate living situation is our main room, though. The 9 of us all have a communal lounge filled with couches and armchairs, the remaining space filled with things all of us have contributed. One of us brought a large fridge for food storage; another brought a TV and Xbox; I brought the rug and the bean bag. Because each one of us has something of our own in the lounge, we treat the space well and respect every inch of it. And let's face it: it's the perfect hang out spot. At almost any given point in the day, at least one of us will be out there chilling out, be it studying for an upcoming debate, reading assigned material before class the next day, playing Scott Pilgirm vs. the World: The Video Game on the Xbox, or even just sitting and contemplating the ever growing complexities of life. Our suite has a fantastic community, always making sure the others are included in on plans and always interested in socializing.
That's an aspect of roommates that's definitely a huge positive--the social aspect. When you have a single, you get privacy...but you have to leave that bubble of yours if you want to see your friends. But here at the suite, my friends are always around. It's great to know they'll usually be there if I'm ever done with homework and have time to kill. Sure, chilling in the suite sometimes has the consequence of being forced to watch Glee, but in end I think the trade off is worth it.
Clayton is a sophomore creative writing major from Meridian, Idaho.