On the day that I sat down to write this, my roommate, Mary, and I barely spoke to each other. We slept in and went about our various tasks. She had to go into to work, while I spent the majority of the day attempting to memorize the chronology of Ancient Rome from 753 – 44 B.C.E. By the time we returned to our room tonight, we are both too exhausted to watch Netflix together or have a heart-to-heart. We are best friends. I’m telling you this because I need you to understand that rooming with someone is not and never will be perfect.
That’s something I did not understand before my freshman year. As I planned my move to Mississippi College, I was determined that my college living experience must be perfect. I had to get along with my roommate. We had to live in East. (Freshman Nolie was opposed to the idea of community style residence halls. I now realize that there is nothing especially gross or inconvenient about community living.) Our room would be perfectly coordinated but not too “matchy.” Everything would be perfect. Not surprisingly, this need for perfection proved to be a source of stress.
As I said before though, perfection isn’t possible. You may not get into the residence hall you wanted, but ultimately, that is a small detail. Even more important aspects of residence life, like your roommate, are not worth the stress. Are you worried you and your roommate may not have a great deal in common and every attempt at conversation could lead to awkward silence? Or maybe you are worried that you will argue all the time? Even if your roommate is your best friend, it’s possible you will get into an argument over whose side of the sink drying dishes should be kept. (Not that I would know…)
Here’s the thing though. Even if you don't have the perfect roommate or the best room, a little perspective reveals that these problems are temporary and ultimately, not a big deal. That's not to say that while in the moment it may feel as if the world is crashing in around you, in a few semesters you’ll realize that your perspective was skewed.
If you can realize that in the moment though, you have an incredible opportunity. By placing housing woes in perspective, you give yourself the ability to decide whether to stress out or learn from the experience. A beautiful facet of life lies in the challenges it presents. For how we respond to these mini challenges, shapes us, causing us to either grow into a better or worse version of ourselves, so don’t let a few minor housing difficulties ruin your college experience. Instead, handle this minor inconvenience with grace and grow into the person you are meant to be.