No, not the awful Jennifer Aniston movie, a different kind of breakup – a roommate breakup. Yes, it happens. Though roommate breakups are not as ubiquitous as the typical roomie drama, they do happen, even to your average Her Campus writer such as myself. Yep, I have an “ex-roommate.” I began the semester hoping that I’d get a roommate who was easy to get along with, even if we weren’t ‘like BFF,’ but I was scared I’d get some crazy psychotic bitch who’d make my life miserable. Apparently I am the crazy psychotic bitch! (I’m really not, but let’s just go with that idea…) But before I explain my story, let’s just talk about rooming for a bit.
Freshman rooming is really difficult, especially for girls. For most of us, it’s the first time living away from home for an extended period of time and with a stranger? Forget about it. Some girls get super lucky and become best friends with their roommate. That is not the norm. For others, they are friendly and get on well with their roommate or roommates and this seems like the most realistic ‘best situation’ possible. However, sometimes we get unlucky. I remember visiting my brother at his freshman hall and asking why there were empty singles. His response? “It’s for when girls get divorced from their roommate second semester.” He wasn’t kidding either. I have heard countless tales of “the awful soul sucking demon roommate” from friends and family who attend Brandeis or another school. Sometimes, it just doesn’t work. It could be a problem of constant sexiling, or sleeping too late into the day, personalities clashing, or just completely hating each other.
Navigating the world of roommate problems is hard, and lucky for us we have really great CA’s and CDC’s who are willing to help out, but these people can’t fix everything. After experiencing quite a dramatic ‘break-up’ I think my biggest piece of advice is to talk to your roommate before going to your CA. If it’s a simple matter of overhead lights on too late at night, your roommate being mean to your friends, not being comfortable with boys sleeping over in your room or not knowing when you can turn the lights on during the day when your roommate is asleep or napping, there’s no need for the CA to get involved (unless both parties are unwilling to make any changes.) I understand it might be scary to confront someone, but having that kind of openness is necessary when you are living together. When approached by my roommate and CA, I looked at the issues rationally, and though I’m not perfect, I tried to compromise. However, these issues were first addressed through a meeting with our CA. My roommate had never even brought up her concerns with me, and I am not clairvoyant! If you have problems that can be solved through confrontation and conversation, do not keep them secretly locked up inside of you festering until your roommate reads your mind while practicing her bi-weekly sacrificial ritual when you’re asleep. Because that won’t happen. It really hurts being bombarded with complaints that you have never heard of before. Conversation is key.
For problems that will not go away, this is where your CA is super duper helpful. They have training for this kind of stuff. Sometimes a comment is unnoticed, and you feel ignored and helpless and unable to communicate – your CA is there to the rescue! Sometimes you and one of your roommates have a concern about the third roomie, but you don’t want to gang up on her because that’s just ruuude – your CA is there to the rescue. If your roommate is doing a lot of illegal or inappropriate things, and you are so uncomfortable you can’t even speak to her – your CA is there to the rescue. This part is actually the trickiest, because there is a line between a few slips and a bad habit. A friend of mine was living with someone who was constantly visited by ‘male companions,’ which kept her up at night and made her very feel awkward. The problem persisted and one night the police actually came to arrest her roommate for dealing drugs. So, just remember that your life might not suck that much… just kidding, everyone deserves to feel at ease in her own living space and there are people here who ensure that you do. Your CDC is here to satisfy both you and your roommate and they totally rock. CDC’s are kind of like therapists. They make you talk out your problems so that you can find the most desirable solution, seriously magical beings. Kind of like couple’s therapy.
Whether you’re just chatting with your roomie or if you have a middle-man to help lay out what is going on in the room, it’s important to remember that there are two (or three) sides to every story and the truth. You might feel victimized and hurt, and I’ve been there, but the best way to deal is through compromise and remembering that you’re roommate is also a human being, and the two or three of you are all equals in your living space. Illegal activities aside, helplessness can be fixed by simply bringing up your problems, just consider that you’re roommate is also a person. Being put in a room with a stranger is awkward; we’re all girls and we’re all going through a period of time when we might be redefining ourselves or just defining ourselves in general, so there’s no need to victimize yourself or your roommate/s. Don’t be afraid to speak to the girl/s you are living with, you have a right to be heard and everyone deserves a chance to be happy in their own room. And if you really can’t settle your differences – it’s okay. It’s okay to move out. Marnie and Hannah aren’t roommates anymore, they’ve helped each other move, but they’re going to be okay (more on this next week). It’s not always a personal offense, and it doesn’t have to be – sometimes either you or your roommate needs a change, and that is alright. Taking the necessary steps to make you happier is admirable. There is no need to hold a grudge or go batshit crazy and freak out. There’s a learning curve to college and roommates (and life), so take all of your incidents and fights and problems and hostility and just learn from it. Next year you get to pick your own roommate! But for now, if your roommate is watching porn at 3AM without headphones and you have a chem exam the next day, throw that girl a pair of ear buds. (Not really, say please and thank you like the lady you are.)