Freshman Fears: The Roommate Roulette
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Freshman Fears: The Roommate Roulette

Dorm life is like a box of chocolates, except if those chocolates were crazy.

When I was a freshman three years ago, moving into my new honors-only dorm, I was super excited to meet up with my new roommate! I'd been dumb and lonely enough to select the random roommate option. Looking back on it now, that dorm situation was not worth it at all. Now that I'm a senior I can totally say that I would've enjoyed freshman year way more if I'd just stuck to my gut and looked for friends in the area. But I wanted to be a rebel and move to a completely different town than where I grew up, so, this is what I got. But what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?

Anyways, let me tell you about my freshman fears: two freakishly terrible roommates who were each horrid in their own way. It's like my RA wanted me to fail.

Enter Roommate 'A.' A was a huge hockey fanboy. So huge that when I moved in at the beginning of the year, arriving in from my hometown, all of his hockey gear was all over my side of the already tiny room. The worst part was that he wouldn't shut up about hockey, and going out to support local clubs and teams. Even up when I was crazy enough to try to work a normal sleeping schedule. I get it, really, having local pride, but we're smack dab in the middle of the desert here. I get that you don't get much privacy in the dorm life, but he was that mix of preppy and annoying that it almost made me consider dropping out. Or at least, moving to a different room. But he just disappeared early November and I literally never saw him since, except for when I thought he moved out because after Thanksgiving weekend, all his stuff was gone and I had a room to myself. Sweet.

January arrived and so did Roommate 'B.' My RA didn't let me know that another guy was moving into my room, so I was already irritated when he came. And like 'A,' he wouldn't shut up about the games he played on his laptop. He'd always go on and on about why I should be playing like him (and take it from him, he's only changed majors three times). The worst part was that he would butt into my circle of friends and let himself into conversations he had no part in, and all he'd talk about was what he cared to talk about. Talk about being the worst.

May couldn't have come any faster and as fast as Roommate B came, he disappear.

But, that taught me one thing: move in with folks you know. I was lucky enough to move in with a good bunch of friends the next year in a tiny little apartment and we made it work. I had so much more fun, I was more comfortable, and more importantly I was spending much less money on paying up the dorm rent. Seriously, you can probably pay for double the space in an apartment near campus with the money you're forking up. So take it from me, either go get a place with your friends, or go it alone. Or if you've got the dough to shell out for a single room deal on campus, do that.

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If That Dorm Room's A-Rockin'...

Dorm Sex 101

Ah, yes. The classic, straight from a 90's movie clich?: the sock on the doorknob, the used condom on the floor, someone's underwear hanging from a lamp, and the squeaking of an old bedframe as it batters into the cinderblock wall.

Frankly, dorm sex is a fucking wild time. I loved it.

And I mean specifically freshman dorm sex. I guess being cooped up with zero privacy kickstarted us all into overdrive or something, because holy shit I was horny all the goddamn time.

Now, firstly, I'm really gonna recommend you DON'T sleep with someone who lives in the same building as you, and DO NOT sleep with someone who lives on your floor, or the floor above you, aka dormcest. You are young, and a constant fog of lust and hormones will make you think it's a good idea but it's not. It will be weird and people will talk and your one-night stand will walk in on you brushing your teeth in your underwear with someone else's love bite on your lower back.

But enough about me.

The advice I can give is this: Fuck outside your living space. As in, find people who don't live there. Don't literally fuck outside your living space, as in, don't have public sex! I didn't ask to see that and if you get arrested you can get pegged with a sexual offense charge! Plus who wants dirt or leaves up their ass? Yeah, no thx.

If you're doing it in your own dorm room, let your roommates know. Don't be that asshole who lets their roommate walk in on them getting rawed from the back. They don't need all that.

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If you're doing it somewhere else, make sure someone knows where you are. People can be dangerous. And if a roommate is in the room and you decide to go at it.... God-fucking-speed, young Padawan. Live your best life.

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I Hate People And I'm Looking For A Roommate

Ew, people.

Yes, I know. Contradictory, right?

But I literally have no choice. I'm on a bazillion and a half scholarships, which means I don't have money to pay double to room by myself. Hell, even ramen was expensive for me at some point during winter semester of freshman year - I was buying the off-brand, no-name, expensive-for-no-reason-because-it-tastes-like-burnt-grass stuff.

So how do you choose a roommate if you're slightly on the antisocial side of the spectrum? You don't.

Actually, you do... kinda.

If your university allows you to pick your own roommate, ask around and see if any of your (FEW!) friends needs one. If one of them says yes, there you go. You're saved from having a horrible roommate situation.

Well, hopefully. I know some people who roomed with one of their friends and swore to God they'd never do it again.

If your university, for some inhumane reason, DOESN'T allow you to choose your own roommate, the first thing to do is sit in a corner and cry, then wipe your tears and shake it off.

The next best thing to do is to grab a notebook and a pen, or a pencil if you're a constant mistake-maker like me (no, seriously. I could MAKE sheets of paper out of the amounts of White-Out tape I've used in my lifetime).

OK, now that you've got school supplies in front of you, use it to make a list of things that a roommate could do that would piss you off.

You've got a few options here:

1. If your list is ridiculously long, take a second and third and 57th look at the issues you wrote down, and make sure that those issues are actually things to get bent out of shape for - if you're not sure, ask your friends and family what they think.

Also, ask yourself, "Should I really be mad about this, or is this mayyyybe not such a big deal?"

2. Use your sensational ability to imagine scenarios that have a 0.00000001% chance of happening to create a situation in which your roommate has done one of the things on your list. If there's no one in your house - because who needs to be seen shouting at nothing - physically act out the scene.

Pretend that your roommate is standing right in front of you. Really get into it; feel the anger.

Blow up at the air exactly like you would if you were going off on your roommate. Felt good, right?

Saying everything that's on your mind and not getting in trouble for it? OK. Now that you've done that, take a deep breath and sit back down.

Now, evaluate your response and think of what you could've done differently, if anything. Was there something you said that probably shouldn't have been said? Could you have been calmer about the situation? Was it really something to go off on your roommate for?

Write down a few different ways to handle the situation in case it does happen. That way, you're prepared (hopefully) for anything your roommate could throw at you.

3. If you know your anger has a tendency to flare up, practice some breathing techniques, like the 4-7-8 (inhale for four seconds, hold it for seven, exhale for eight).

There's also several meditation and relaxation apps to choose from if you feel that helps you.

And if all else fails, just avoid your room like the plague.

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Confession: I Told My Roommate He Had a Small Dick

It broke loose.

An ordinary day of classes. I had to go to my composition writing class at 9:30 AM. Brutal. This went until 10:50 AM, and I was already exhausted from all the homework and tests I needed to study for.

After the class was over, my friend and I walked back to our dorm. Once I got back, I opened the door and saw my roommate.

He was completely naked beating his meat. Then, I saw the fast motion ejaculation. The white spots were on the floor, one inch from my new Steve Maddens. It was disgusting, but what was way worse was that the size of his penis.

"You have a very small penis," I said. I was not disgusted with him masturbating, because that's what we all do, but over the fact that I never seen something so small in my entire life. It was the size of a double A battery.


After my comment, my roommate did not speak to me for three weeks straight. It was an awkward walking into the room and there being silence. I guess that comment to him was an insult, so I decided just to apologize to him for making fun of his penis size.

If you were in my situation and saw someone jacking off or playing with their toy, and see that it's small, you would be the one saying something real. I had to be real at that point, because if I want to have sex with a guy, he better not have a small one.

So my advice for you all is this: if you have a roommate that likes to masturbate, have a talk with them, so that way you won't walk in to see what I had to experience.

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The Rules of a Courteous Roommate

Don't be that roommate.

Living with a roommate can be one of the biggest adjustment for college newbies. Even if you have siblings, you probably aren't used to dealing with someone else's idiosyncrasies and bad habits in such close quarters--or realizing that you have some of your own.

But learning how to co-exist peacefully in a 12-by-19-foot box with another human is crucial to having a good college experience. So before shit hits the fan, set some ground rules.
A big part of what kind or roommate you are (read: sucky or awesome) is your ability to stay organized. You're both living in a relatively small space, so keeping things put away is key. We'll make it easy for you: keep your shit on your side, and before you leave the room, ask yourself: "If I was my own roommate, would I be annoyed waking up/coming home to this?"
Aside from organization, clean up after yourself. Don't leave your makeup out all over the counter; wash your dishes; clean your dried-up toothpaste out of the sink; and get your hair off of the shower wall. And split the cleaning 50-50. One person should not be doing all of the work. Lysol wipes and Swiffer pads are your best friends in college, people.
If you're going out on a night that you know your roommate is staying in, don't offer to host the pregame in your room. And don't cause a drunken scene when you come home later that night. Lay out your PJs beforehand so you don't make a lot of noise or have to turn on the light when you come back.
Don't have your boyfriend or girlfriend/bed buddy sleep over every single night. Waking up to kissy noises and sheet rustling is really not ideal for anyone. Even if your roomie says, they "don't mind," don't take advantage, k? While it's fine to have someone stay over every once in awhile, just ask first. Trust me, getting ready in the morning with some dude in your roommate's bed is awkward for everyone.
Also be aware of the fact that you and your roommate are two different people. You're going to be spending an entire year living with this person, so be respectful of his or her opinions, feelings and personality. They may be more sensitive than you, so watch what you say to steer clear of conflict. They may be more talkative/quieter/like to study more/need to fall asleep with the TV on/can't stand to fall asleep with the TV on, the list is endless. People are different--respect it. That's what so great about college. And life.
Last, if there's a problem, don't bombard or attack your roommate because you're mad--and especially don't gossip about it with your other friends outside the room, because that's when things get messy. Address any issues directly with your roommate: Take a step out of the dorm and have a mature, adult conversation about what needs to be fixed.
Having a roommate can be stressful. But if you do it right, you just might end up meeting one of your new best friends for life.

#tbt hi best frend @bsmart512

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The Do's and Don'ts of Your Freshman Roommate

It's a roommate, not a soulmate.

DO find each other on Facebook. The ability to choose my roommate in the spring and have the whole summer to get to know her, meet up for dinner, and coordinate our rooms took a huge stressor out of move-in day. I didn't have to worry about the awkward get-to-know-you silence that would otherwise inevitably ensue after our families left, wonder who I'd get my first meal with, or be nervous that I'd get a distasteful up-down every time I put on an outfit to go out. Of course, there are people who go random and end up perfectly happy...I've just yet to meet them.
DO make your own friends. The first week of school was great, I had a built in friend who was always around to talk, go to every meal with, go out, study, and chill with. But by day 10, we started to go a little stir crazy; we both needed out. When the way they chew their food, close the door, and pronounce their words starts to bother know you've reached that point where you need some space. When we branched off and became close with different people, the tension eased. It's nice to be friends with your roommate, but finding our own separate friends actually allowed us to be closer.
DO make a roommate agreement. It sounds silly to set rules when you've just been freed from any that used to confine you, but setting some living guidelines will save you from potential upsets down the road. Figure out some basic policies that you can agree on; when and what people can come in the room, quiet or study hours, sexile procedure. Get this over with as soon as possible, because when you roll over at 2 a.m. and find that there are two...or is that three...bodies in the opposite bed, it's too late to decide you don't want late night shenanigans going down in your room.

DON'T stew. My roommate and I made a pact on the first day to bring up anything that was bothering us as soon as it started, not after it built up and bubbled over. At our 10 day tipping point, I was nervous to bring up how I was feeling; I didn't even want to go home after going out so as to avoid the discussion. But as soon as everything was on the table, it was just as quickly cleared up. You can't fix a problem with someone if they don't know that it exists.
DO coordinate! The two of us spent all summer texting back and forth about colors, comforters, and carpeting, all to result in the cutest dorm on East (if I do say so myself). I love our room, and it's great having a place to come home to that makes you feel good. I take any and all compliments on the decor very personally and proudly.
DON'T put too much pressure on choosing a roommate. I tore through the Facebook page finding plenty of girls with whom I could easily coexist, but obsessed over finding The One. It literally became online dating. Accepting the fact that I was looking for a room-sharer rather than a soul mate made the search much less stressful.