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What They Don’t Tell You About Roommates

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Waterloo chapter.

Everyone warns you about living with people. How gross it will get. How some are just more annoying than others. You prepare yourself to fight over moldy food or unwashed dishes. Your parents tell you to be respectful and keep a balance of sharing. Everyone prepares you for the anger, annoyance, disappointment, and compromises. But no one really ever prepares you for what happens when you like the place and have to leave. 

I lived in an incredibly small space and it wasn’t the best (like very few Waterloo student housing places are), but my roommates and I called it ‘228’. When we first moved in, the AC didn’t work and it only took like a million emails, a few demanding trips to the maintenance office, and some legal threats to get them to take us seriously (it took two seconds for them to fix). There’s also the frequent roach prevention and the elevator that used to stop on the 9th floor every time without fail. There were just a few tiny things (could’ve been a lot worse) that you had to adjust to. 

But, I got really lucky. I got to live with two of my best friends. And I’m not trying to say that everything was a perfect, totally smooth, problemless dream utopia. But it kinda was exactly what you would expect living with your best friends. 

Anytime I wanted to, I could open my door and walk literally three steps to another, knock on it and go, “Hello?” I would hear, “Yea?”, and then I would open the door and crawl into another bed in a room that was much cleaner than mine. This was Hilary’s room. She gave me the outlet of being able to voice every problem I could possibly have, big or small. We knew about each other’s poop schedules and everything we ate in the day. Going to her room all the time probably should’ve been a problem when she had her boyfriend over, but I would do the exact same thing and they would still let me in. Sometimes if the “Yea?” was a little more delayed, I would open the door, avoid the bed, and keep whatever I had to say short. Sometimes if I had a long-winded story that LITERALLY no one else in the world would actually listen to, Hilary would say something in defense of me and then turn her head to say, “Luke, what do you think?” OBVIOUSLY he wasn’t listening and couldn’t care less, but he would still kindly say, “Yea. I agree.” 

So, I would always third-wheel them, though they never made me feel like a third-wheel (they probably should’ve). Even when they made food, they made enough so I could have a portion too. The three of us together would hope that we would be able to see our other roommate, who was almost like a rare animal that you could only catch a glimpse of if you were to stake out the area for a really long time. Living with him was like living with an angsty teenage son, whom you were way more interested in spending time with than the other way around. Sometimes, I would knock on his door and talk to him through the doorway, as he sat in his completely dark room. But when Aiden did come out of his room to microwave a POGO stick or something, it would be a lot of fun and we would sit and eat together. Though, one person would have to use the couch or just stand because we only had three chairs for the table.  

These are the people that I spent almost every day of the past eight months with. They were the ones I forced to look over my study notes as I recited it back to them: “DID I GET IT RIGHT?” They were the ones who had to listen to me talk about being completely and totally done with some guy over and over again. And they were the same people who were there when I ended up coming back from his place, just a little less than happy. I listened to them tell me the funniest stories of the people they knew. Together, we watched as different people came to stay over. Hilary told me to throw out my expired food and wash the dishes. Together, we made fun of Aiden’s disgustingly gray spam. We drank together, danced together, laughed together, and created some really niche inside jokes together. We kept up with pop culture in a disgustingly intimate way, even after Hilary and I deleted TikTok together. We were always in Hilary’s room, sometimes mine if it was clean that day, but never Aiden’s because his sheets were definitely never safe to sit on. Our fridge consisted of yogurt, pickles, and bagels. We decorated with one picture taped to that same fridge, fruit stickers on the side of the kitchen table, and one string worm hanging from the ceiling that Aiden would play with like a cat. These are the people that made that roach-prone building my favourite place. 

And then a little bit ago, I sat on my bed in complete tears over the fact that we weren’t going to be living together anymore. They each stood around the bed and watched me cry (I cry a lot so this wasn’t abnormal at all). I said: “Who’s going to tell me where my AirPods are when I can’t find them? When am I ever going to see you guys again? Hilary, are you going to like your new roommates more than me????” At ‘228’, they never made me feel embarrassed or ashamed to be myself in a way I thought I could only be around my family. I’m not totally sure when it happened, but the kind of gross ‘228’ became a home that I didn’t know I had to emotionally prepare to leave. 

And now that I’m here on a bed I’ll probably never sleep on again, in a room that won’t be my own, in a place that I could only ever visit, in a building that I’ll start walking by, I can only hope that my roommates in the future will be even a half as kind as the ones I’ve had this year. And that they’ll shape me to be a better person just as Hilary and Aiden have done. 

tiffany wen

Waterloo '27

My name is Tiffany and I am currently studying Honours Arts at the University of Waterloo double majoring in Professional and Creative Writing and Legal Studies.