Thank You, UF Housing

In celebration of my last month at University of Florida, I’m taking the time to write ‘thank you’ notes to those who have helped shape my time here. To you all: I am forever grateful.

Once upon a time, I was an excited and nervous freshman filled with hope about what was to come. By sheer, dumb luck, I was gifted a single room, and I remember entering the shared bathroom to a note from my suitemate. She’d decorated the bathroom, and I FaceTimed my parents to show them how cute and promising it was. I went through the hallway to see her name on the door tag from our RA.

“Demi H,” it read.

When one first starts college, they can never truly anticipate having the opportunity to find a lifelong best friend in their random roommate. I think they go into it a little afraid, and they start crossing their fingers to hope for the best. When I finally met my roommate, I remember relaxing and thinking, “Okay. This is going to be okay.”

When wedged together in a room (or two in our case), gradually over time, we got to know each other. I can think of so many stand-out experiences that happened because of UF’s housing department. We went to the free events that the residence halls put on in hopes of getting a free meal or meeting a new friend. We took SNAP around campus when it was too dark or when we deemed the library too far. We managed taking the RTS bus to the mall, Publix and Walmart, dragging our bags along with us and doing our best not to get lost or not to miss the last bus–which inevitably happened.

We found ourself in the communal kitchen, dragging all of our pots and pans to make spaghetti while watching bad reality TV, giving our commentary on every scene. We made feeble attempts to study in the common room, with many, many trips to the vending machine for overpriced M&Ms and chips. We called for pizza, Jimmy John’s, late-night cookies and anything else that would deliver to our little home away from home. We laid on the floor, talking about our lives prior to college and what it all meant to us now. We saw each other at our best and our worst, a cliche that is true for a reason.

And I admit it; being set up with a random roommate is nothing but fate or chance. We had done nothing to warrant being put together. It was, as I said, nothing more than a stroke of luck. And that makes me feel that much more grateful.  We always say, “Thanks UF Housing” when we reflect on our friendship. With entirely different majors and no shared organizations, we most likely wouldn’t have crossed paths in college, other than maybe being strangers standing next to each other in line for bagels.

We’re still the best of friends. If you’re lucky enough to have it work, there’s something special about having someone from your very first day of college, someone who you’ve grown and changed with. So this is my formal thank you to UF Housing—you’ve given me a forever friend.

Photo credit: UF Housing & Residence Education