Student Experience Blog

The Science of Getting Along

Roommates: one of college’s most quintessential adventures.  For some, sharing a room with another human person is old hat. Others, like yours truly, are accustomed to their solitude so the idea of suddenly having someone just there, occupying the same living space as you is kind of/sort of/absolutely terrifying.

This time last year, I was freaking out. I had received my rooming assignment and talked to my roommate on Facebook for a little while. But, I was still nervous. Talking to someone online is much, much different than actually being stuck in a room with them for a year. What if she didn’t like me? What if she was only pretending to be nice? What if she was an alien from outer space here to learn Earth’s customs before enslaving the whole race? You know, your typical concerns.

It was a little overwhelming getting to know her, at first, because we have nothing in common. Nothing. Abbey was a student-athlete who had never heard of Doctor Who or Star Trek. Or any other TV show/movie that I was putting up posters of in our shared quarters. That completely exhausted over 95% of all my talking points.

And she was cool. When I say that, I mean it. Abbey is one of the coolest people I have ever met in my life. Social situations come easy to her. I, on the other hand, tend to experience mild chest pains when it’s my turn to give the waiter my order at a restaurant.

But, like most of my worries about college, my angsty, traitorous brain was needlessly freaking out. Abbey was the best roommate anyone could have ever asked for. We got along amazingly.

The thing is, though, we shouldn’t have. Abbey and I as roommates shouldn’t have worked - but it did.

Living in such a small space with someone comes down to a delicate science. You have to both be willing to put forth effort.

For instance, I’m a light sleeper. Abbey learned this pretty quick and always tip-toed around the room whenever she was up and I was not. I learned that Abbey could sleep through just about anything (including me blow drying my hair) except light. So I learned how to function in the dark, not unlike a ninja or Bruce Wayne.

You have to be there for each other.

One night towards the end of school, Abbey had a seriously nasty infection in her leg. She needed to be rushed to hospital to get it taken care of at 2 a.m. and I was there without a second’s hesitation. Throughout the whole year, Abbey was always pushing me to go outside my comfort zone. Yes, I’d usually grumble and glare but in the end it was always worth it.

Have patience.

Abbey was not the world’s greatest cleaner. Just looking at her half of the room made me choke back tears. But, I never would say anything to her. It was her half of the room after all, who was I to demand how she kept it? And usually, she’d eventually get the hint and tidy up. I had a friend that Abbey, to put it lightly, was not the biggest fan of. But she never, ever, said anything to that person or asked me to have them stop coming to our room.

It takes a little while, but eventually you get used to it. The most important thing, though, is to give your roommate a chance. They are in the same situation as you are.

Abbey and I are, sadly, not rooming together this year. But, we are still very close friends and I can see her dorm room in Finney from my Simplot window. The photo attached is from a trip a bunch of us went on to the ice rink. Abbey had never been ice skating before. She, surprisingly, never fell once. That made me hate her just a little bit. 

-Ashley A. Miller

Ashley is a Creative Writing major from Payette, Idaho.