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Roommate Horror Stories (From the 60’s to Now)

Being a college Freshman is already scary and adding roommate problems on top can be a lot to handle! 

Everyone has had a weird experience with their roommate. No matter if you’re currently a college freshman or if you graduated in the 1960’s, no matter the college campus, and no matter your personality type, all of us have had at least one crazy experience in those dorm rooms. I spent the last few days interviewing people from all different college experiences in order to gather some of the most insane, laughable, and downright disturbing encounters. 

From dorm room doors opening in the middle of the night by the hall’s ghosts to cancer scares, here’s a timeline of some wacky and even sad experiences. Obviously I am going to have more experiences from recent years, but all are just as interesting to read. The names given aren’t real in order to protect the anonymity of the submissions but that doesn’t take away from their validity! 

Let’s get straight into it with the first experience from the 1960’s… 

Before you read any further, I need to put a trigger warning. Mentions of eating disorders, drugs, and illness are throughout the article.

  • The Groovy 1960’s
    • CSU: 
      • Going to CSU in the late 60’s for college proved to be not what my grandma anticipated in terms of her living situation. Her first year roommate suffered from extreme bulimia nervosa and BPD (bi-polar disorder). She would often binge on meals and then spend hours in the shared bathroom throwing up, then repeating the cycle again. It combined roughly with her BPD and when she was manic, she would eat whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted. And then, when she was coming down from her high, she would become extremely depressed and it made her purging habit much worse. My grandmother remembers how hard it was to watch, not knowing how to help. If you or someone you know is struggling, here are some tip lines I have found for help: 1-800-950-NAMI (BPD) and 1-800-969-6642 (Bulimia or any other mental health issue) 
    • Olive Green Towels: 
      • She wrote her experience so well that I don’t want to change it in fear of taking away some of the magic, so verbatim from grandmother dearest herself, here is her most memorable experience she had when attending DU in the 60’s, “I arrived at the University of Denver with a small foot locker, a typewriter, and a single suitcase.  My roommate, Terry,  arrived in a U-Haul with 38 pairs of shoes.  So, challenge, how to find a modicum of common experience.  Lightbulb moment – we both had olive green towels.  Terry’s were monogrammed!  Despite the overwhelming disparities in our lives, Terry and I became fast friends!”
  • The Disco 1980’s:  
    • The police are coming!: 
      • My dad attended CU boulder back in the late 80’s and so drugs just being out and around wasn’t exactly a rare thing. He lived in the frat house when he was a junior and one day, he was sitting outside with his buddy on their couch (yes… their OUTDOOR couch) when they suddenly saw cops coming down both sides of the street toward them. Now, this wouldn’t be an issue if they hadn’t done anything wrong, but they definitely did. My dad’s buddy was a notorious drug dealer with his supply less than 20 feet away in the house. He panicked (like he should) and went inside to hide the illegal mess that was going on. He taped bags of drugs shut and put them in the tank of the toilet to preserve them. While the friend was inside, sneaking around, paranoid as hell, the cops came up to my dad, still outside on the couch, and of course he began to freak out. Guess what they said? “Excuse me sir, have you heard of anything happening at the house across the street?” They then went to break down the door from the house across the street and started pulling people out to cop cars.  I can’t even imagine the stress. When the friend went to get the drugs from the toilet, the bags had been soaked through with water and the contents were fully ruined. But hey, at least they didn’t get caught right? 
  • The #2010’s: 
    • Drugs!: 
      • This one is pretty straightforward. A friend of mine walked in on his roommate doing lines of cocaine off of my friends desk… not his own desk 3 feet away… my FRIEND’S desk. 
  • The Sickly 2020’s: 
    • Pranks or ghosts… or both?: 
      • This one happened to me personally so I can account that it really did occur and it was pretty terrifying. About a week or so into the school year, my roommate and I had just started settling in but we still had the nervous jitters of the starting week in a new place so our sleeping was lighter than normal. At around 3:30 in the morning, I was woken by the deafening creak of the dorm door opening fully. Since I was sleeping lightly, I  immediately sit up, looking at the door (still wide open by the way, just starting to close) and then looking at my roommate who is ALSO sitting straight up, looking at me with grave concern. In the span of 10 seconds max, I am on my feet and rushing to the door to locate who (or what…) just opened the door, only to be greeted by an empty hallway. A few side notes, the only people with keys and/or access to the room are my roommate and I and the RA on our floor. My roommate and I were in the room and what RA checks on her residents at 3:30 in the morning? Not ours. Our door was also deadbolted shut…Both my roommate and I remembered it fully in the morning. It seems to us that the ghost of Kitt Central has something against us. 
    • Sleepover buddies! Except I didn’t know we were having a sleepover… 
      • My friends have also had some pretty crazy experiences with their roommates in the month we’ve been here. My friend and his roommate don’t talk very much so imagine his surprise when he’s sleeping one night and his roommate walks in with a girl… He proceeds to tell my friend that the girl is going to be spending the night on my friend’s couch. Didn’t warn him at all. I would not be happy at all. My friend ended up leaving the room and sleeping underneath one of our friends beds that night… He said it was really comfortable at least!

These are just a few of the many stories I have heard from friends and family, everyone seems to have had some insane experiences from college. I have lucked out so much with my roommate, residence hall ghosts are honestly the least of my worries when my roommate is great. I hope that everyone only has ghosts to deal with and not having to dust cocaine powder from their desks to do math!

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Charlotte Youngman

CU Boulder '25

I am a freshman majoring in Childhood Education. I love writing, reading, and anything to do with literature!
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