The idea of moving in with a complete stranger is wildly terrifying, but also somewhat exciting. The anticipation of discovering your roommate dynamic and hopefully, if you’re lucky, becoming lifelong friends, is almost too much to handle. For some of us, the fantasies of decorating together, running out to get late night snacks, and giggling long into the night come true! But for the rest of us, the promise of a year-long sleepover dies the moment that we walk into our rooms and realize that our worst nightmares have mutated and come to life. And she’ll be sleeping three feet away from you every single night.
Now maybe some roommates, although not what we always hoped for, are just mediocre. They don’t do anything really weird or terrible, but frankly they aren’t friendly or likable. These types of roommates may be a blessing in disguise! It can be really difficult to study for finals or finish that term paper or even just get some peace and quiet when you and your roommate are close friends. You wanted to take a nap? Too bad! She bursts in and just has to tell you about what happened with that cute guy from calc. You have a big test tomorrow morning at 8 am? She will try to convince you to drink a bottle of wine and watch Scandal with her. You had a long day and just want to chill? That cute guy from calc is in your room and since you two are so close, she’s comfortable asking you to give them some “alone time.” So the roommates that are standoffish or distant are actually extremely helpful when it comes to productivity. Hopefully your new BFF will live right down the hall.
On the other hand, there are the genuinely weird, socially awkward people that never leave your room and scream in their sleep. This stranger may fail to wear pants around your room, sleep until 4pm and watch cartoons until 5am, or plaster what look like surveillance photos all over your walls. Strangely specific, I know. Because my roommate freshman year did all of this. Along with eating Domino's breadsticks every night and building a 6ft tall tower from the boxes that balanced on her desk for nearly a month.
Ask anyone who’s lived in a college dorm, they will tell you horror stories upon horror stories. It is a fact of life that not everyone will be perfectly matched by the extremely flawed university roommate finding system. I am here to tell you, there is life after residence halls. You will make it through, and be blessed with great stories to tell your friends when you get back home in June.
There are a few options when you’re faced with a person who you truly can’t stand. You can request a room change, which is a hassle and could be potentially very hurtful. Consider the time you would spend packing up with her staring daggers at you. Not ideal. You can put up a curtain in the middle of the room! This is actually a great DIY project even for roommates who get along well. You can always pull it back when you want to hangout, but it gives each of you some privacy and you won’t have to see anything if your roommate suffers from the aforementioned nudity problem. The last solution is to grit your teeth and live through it. It may be terrible for a while, but I promise you will laugh about it.
Bonus: The neighbors from hell
Some people are lucky enough to be assigned angelic, studious, generally silent but friendly roommates, yet still find themselves miserable due to the curse of thin walls and rowdy neighbors. I’ve seen it all, from dubstep enthusiasts (permanent hearing damage), to carpentry majors (you’re going to want to get hammered to escape the hammering), to homesick foreign exchange students (microwaved curry is pungent, Brazilian music is to be blared or not played at all), to the ever-popular sexually experimental neighbor (don’t bother hanging anything on your shared wall, and invest in noise cancelling headphones). The only solutions are to swallow your pride and talk to them, or passive aggressively slide notes under their door that say, “We can all hear you.” I chose the latter, it didn’t solve much.
-McKenzie Wick Montana State University '18. McKenzie is a finance major.