Around this time last year, I, along with hundreds of other incoming freshmen, was digging through the JMU Class of 2021 Facebook page in search of a roommate. Endless conversations that would suddenly end because one person would get left on “read” or you just realized that you didn’t “match” (for lack of a better word) with them. Many of us felt hopeless, feeling like we would never find a roommate we liked and would have to resort to the dreaded, horrifying “Random Assignment”. Luckily, I wasn’t one of the people that had to resort to random. I had found a roommate that I thought I worked well with. We had the same type of major/path and liked some of the same things. I really wanted us to become best friends. I wanted that “my freshman year roommate and I have been best friends for four years” type of ending. But, that’s not exactly how it played out…
My first semester went by great because everyone wanted to be friends with everyone, and living in a small freshman dorm, that was easy for me. However, no one tells you that second semester is when people begin to show their true colors and get a bit too comfortable. Everyone had passed the phase of “I want to meet new people”, and now people had their squads. I had my squad, or so I thought. Living in a dorm of only 70 people, things got a bit too close for my liking. I never felt like I had time to myself to work quietly or just relax. People were constantly around me and it was very overwhelming. My roommate and I did have problems and we tried to talk it out maturely. I tried my best to push it until the end of the semester, but it got to the point where living in an 11 x 12 ft room with her worsened my anxiety and made me cry (or on the verge of it) on an almost weekly basis. Long story short, we just didn’t work well as roommates after a while and I ended up switching dorms 6 weeks before the end of the semester.
I’m not saying that everything was on her, I had my faults too, but the realization that who you live with can greatly affect your daily life struck me hard. My anxiety had increased dramatically, I felt like I was on the verge of tears at least once a day, I lost motivation to do work, and I even thought about transferring. I wish someone had told me that your living situation your first year of college, has a tremendous impact on how you view school and your freshman year in general. I always thought that my freshman year roommate would end up being my lifelong best friend, where we would live together for the next four years of college, stay in touch afterward, and be invited to each others wedding. I wanted a fictional chick flick plot to be my freshman year reality, so when I learned my lesson, I learned it. HARD.
Coming into my freshman year, I wish someone would’ve told me these things. The closest thing to this that I learned was “your frog group will end up your family”. Well, sorry to break it to you, but with my frog group, I’m like the estranged family member who no one speaks of any more at family holidays. I’ve met people who absolutely loved their freshman year roommate and were as thick as thieves years later, and they’re lucky. But the honest truth is, sharing a living space with someone is absolutely horrible. Problems are bound to arise and it just depends on when it happens, how bad the problem will blow up, how you handle it. The biggest lesson I’ve learned throughout all this “drama” is that not everyone is your best friend and no matter how kind, generous, caring, and respectful you are to someone, those feelings won’t always be reciprocated.