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An Open Letter to My First-Year Roommate

It’s kind of wild to think back to the day we moved in. All our bags were unpacked but our walls weren’t decorated much at all, we had enough hangers in our closets, there wasn’t a marshmallow stain on the carpet. Our parents and our little sisters had both just left us to ourselves in the room and all of it was unfamiliar. I was on the bed, you were sitting at your desk, and it was very noticeable that neither of us were speaking. Finally, you were the one to step up.

“Hey, did you ever see that Onion article—something like, New Roommates Not Yet Comfortable With Silence?”

I laughed, and that was all it took. We were both able to acknowledge in that moment that we felt a little awkward, and we’d rather not feel awkward, and in acknowledging that together, surprisingly most of those feelings ended up melting away. Silence from that point onward wasn’t uncomfortable, and talking from that point onward was a lot more honest.

A few days later, the fridge exploded. But we had no idea what it was— all we knew was that we heard a massive boom coming from what sounded like the wall behind the space between my bed and your closet. And, okay, to clarify, it wasn’t technically the fridge that exploded, it was one of my cans of ginger ale, but it was so much more fun to tell everyone it was our fridge. (For the third parties who are reading: somehow the temperature in the fridge was set to way-too-cold, and the pressure popped one of the cans. In hindsight, we should have noticed something was up when we found a couple of Lauren’s water bottles totally frozen the day before, but please keep in mind we had only been living as adults on our own for three days. I didn’t even know the temperatures in fridges were adjustable.)It made so so much of transitioning to college so so much easier, to have decided so early on that our room was going to be a comfortable space— we were gonna miss our families together, and not know where our professors’ offices were together, and essentially have no clue what the hell we were doing, and that was okay, we’d figure out the whole thing together.

Fast forward something like nine months, all the way to now. Twenty minutes ago you came in and I made some complaint about how it’s literally so cold in our room all the time, and ten and then seven  minutes ago you told me to turn my music down. A little over an hour ago I was texting you beyond dramatically about how I didn’t want to go tell our neighbors to not play music so loudly but also I was having a hard time trying to nap with all of the drum beats and the occasional sound clip of a man screaming, and then even more dramatically about a bunch of anxiety I was feeling about a friend of mine. I have a tendency to belittle my own feelings, and to internalize my issues because they don’t seem big enough or important enough to burden other people with, but you’re one of the few that I can talk through things that have been on my mind without ever worrying about your judgment or that you’ll write me off. And I was as right as ever—you understood where I was coming from, and then mentioned that I absolutely have to come visit you in New York this summer so we can go see the Rauschenbergs at the Museum of Modern Art together, and reminded me that at some point tonight the newest episode of Pretty Little Liars is waiting for us.And it’s been like this for months. You’ve been the person I’ve come to for pretty much everything— you know more about my passions, my insecurities, my strengths, my shortcomings, and my favorite snack foods than anyone else on this campus. You’ve seen me cry so many times, for reasons as trivial as final scenes of Fixer Upper on HGTV all the way up to real, emotional struggles and conversations that we both know will never leave our room, and everything in between. You know when to make fun of my tears and when to order a Domino’s lava cake and just let me cry until I can’t anymore. We’ve had nights where we’ve both been in bed by 10:15 and nights where it’s almost two in the morning and we still can’t stop talking, about things that matter and things that don’t. You know me like family, and sometimes of course that means that we fight like family too (but, knowing us, it’s a whole lot more of the passive kind), but there’s a bond we’ve formed in these four polaroid-studded walls that I never expected could be this strong.

With the year ending, it’s really bittersweet to know that we aren’t going to be living together sophomore year. After all of the nights coming home to each other to binge-watch TV shows that we know are substanceless, like The Bachelor at the start of the semester and our current PLL kick, and the occasional binge-watching of things that end up being absolutely fantastic shows, like finishing every season of Friends and Gilmore Girls, and catching up to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (there are so, so, so many links to so, so, so many music videos that I want to add for nostalgia’s sake, because there are so, so, so many music videos that we watched so, so, so many times, but I’ll spare everyone), and after all the ordering-in on days we didn’t feel like walking to the dining hall, and after every FaceTime call with Matthew and picture of One Direction and quote that we wrote on the whiteboard outside our door, it’s sad to think that a few days from now we’ll have taken everything we own out of this room that we’re both so comfortable in right now.I think part of why I’m writing all of this as an article is because I know there are a lot of things I won’t be able to say the day we move out and have to close the chapter of our lives (at least for a year) where we share the same space. You’re so much of the reason why these hideous plasticky jail-cell brick walls feel so much like a home away from home to me, and there are so many things I want to say about how much you’ve meant to me over the last several months that I really have no idea how to verbalize. There are a million things to thank you for, and I absolutely can’t wait till next semester when we’ll get to catch up and share every last detail of how our breaks went, just like we’ve done for every other school break so far. Oh, and hey, I’m looking forward to seeing you in the daylight a whole lot more often.


Image Credit: Annmarie Morrison, Giphy

Annmarie's a sophomore art history major at Kenyon College, and she really really really loves ginger ale and collaborative Spotify playlists, and she's working on being a better listener. For Her Campus, she both writes and is the photographer for the Kenyon chapter, as well as running the Instagram account for the chapter.
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