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Sure, we have all heard the horror stories of being assigned a random roommate. I think I have heard them all; from a roommate who sleeps with a nightlight because he is afraid of the dark to a roommate who has sex in the bunk above you or the bed next to you. (Or for no reason at all, the one who has sex in YOUR BED for no reason! Eww!) There are even those roommates who steal your clothes or talk on the phone at 7am on a Saturday morning, while you are asleep, just to gossip to someone who lives down the hall in your dorm. And believe it or not, there are roommates out there who will make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on your bed. I’m telling you, I have heard it ALL!

But the reason we hear about these horror stories is because they are so terrible and shocking and they make for funny story-telling. We never hear about those roommate stories where everything is perfect because it is an easy living situation. That is the story that is most likely to happen, not the peanut butter and jelly story that we hear. But like I said, we hear these stories because they are funny; and believe me, when I heard that PB and J story, it… was… FUNNY! But rooming with someone that you know from home can have its own horror stories too! Be forewarned!

White Board

Picture from www.tressugar.com

YOU CAN LEARN A LOT ABOUT YOURSELF AND OTHERS:
One of the joys of being assigned a random roommate is that you are forced to meet new people at college! Isn’t that part of the whole experience of going away from home? You might get assigned to a roommate who has some really interesting stories about his or her life! This person might be from a different state, country, ethnic background, religion, etc. Those are the kinds of joys that a random roommate can bring. In the beginning most people do not have friends at the college they attend. They eat their first meal in the cafeteria with their random roommate, who they also are being forced to be “friends” with. Most experience this and it is a great thing to do! You learn how to improve your social skills this way because you are forced into an awkward situation that you have to try to make the best of. And that is a great skill to have because believe me when I say, you will have plenty more of those situations in your life. After college, this will happen at your first job, your second job, your third job, etc. These kinds of situations will even happen in graduate school if you decide to attend, but being thrust into it makes you stronger and teaches you that you have skills that you did not even know you had. And you can even learn about other people and cultures in the process.

COME AND GO AS YOU PLEASE:

One of the other plus sides of having a random roommate is that you will make friends, even if it is not with your roommate. You will make friends through class, parties, your dorm, clubs, sports, etc. And eventually you will have the friends you will come to be friends with forever. And even though this might not be your roommate, this can be a good thing. When you live with a friend, especially a good friend, you will usually feel pressured to invite them places when you are going so that you do not insult them. And generally, a friend is going to feel insulted when you do not invite them to a party and it becomes stressful. If you have a roommate who you are not close friends with, you can be nice and invite them places every once in awhile, but you can really come and go as you please without worrying about hurting anyone’s feelings. One of the best “roommate situations” I ever had was when I was living with someone who I got along with just fine, but was not friends with. Whenever I was going out I let her know that I was going (and usually where I was going- for safety reasons), but there was no stress to invite her. I knew she was not insulted and I did not feel guilty. We both won.

TOO MUCH TIME TOGETHER:

When you live with a friend you can sometimes spend too much time together and get sick of each other. These kinds of circumstances make for tense living situations. It is not fun to lose a good friend because you are not compatible roommates. Just because you have so much fun with one of your friends, constantly laugh when you are together, like all the same movies and music, etc., does not mean that you will be compatible roommates. Sometimes you do not notice habits that people have until you live with them. And sometimes they are going to bother you. Of course, you do not want that peanut butter and jelly story to be your roommate, and the situation would be ten times worse when that person is your friend! Trust me when I tell you, you will be much more upset to see her do it than a random person. I do not know about you, but I expect more respect out of my friends than out of a stranger.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Picture from graphicleftovers.com

YOUR OWN PRIVATE RETREAT:

When your classes get stressful and life is moving too quickly, sometimes all you will want to do is go back to your room to “recharge” and take a nap. It is much easier to go into your room to take a nap when your friends are not there. You get to have your own private space where you can relax and not have to worry about trying to hang out with your friends. You can go home and nap! I promise you- if you do not take naps now, you will DEFINITELY take naps once you get to college. You would not expect it, but college life is very conducive to napping. You will believe it, when you see it. J

"The Roommate"

Leighton Meester and Minka Kelly in "The Roommate" from www.daemonsmovies.com

YOU CAN GAIN A GREAT FRIEND:

Maybe this whole situation will backfire on you and you will not have the space you want to take a nap or you will feel obligated to invite your roommate to every party you are going to. But that will not be the worst thing because that means you may have gained a friend. Maybe this “random roommate” will turn out to be in your wedding party or be a godparent to one of your children. Maybe you will make a friend that you would otherwise not have met- and it will change your life. Or, he or she will make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on your bed and you will have a panic attack. Either way, life will carry on. And you will either have a great story to tell or a life-long friend!

The moral of the story is to give the random roommate thing a shot- you never know what will happen until you try!

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