“How am I going to survive these first few months?”
That was the main thought that plagued me when I first stepped out of my family’s minivan and onto the grounds of Miami University last fall. I couldn’t help but notice that my parents, both Miami alumni, seemed more confident and happy to be at their former stomping grounds than I was.
People had often told me that college was supposed to be a part of your life that you’d always cherish, but I didn’t have the slightest clue as to how I was going to adapt to the new experiences I would have here.
I was concerned, academically-speaking, as I had no idea if I would even be able to manage my class schedule or the workload I would receive. I wasn’t familiar with the campus, and feared I wouldn’t be able to find my way to each of my classes. I also questioned how I would wake up on time for morning courses .
However, those worries were far less pressing to me than the one tied to a question I had been harboring through most of the preceding summer: Would I be able to cooperate and live with a roommate?
I had never shared my bedroom with either of my younger siblings , so I had zero experience when it came to having someone else live in the same space as myself. I had always been able to hide away in my bedroom at home if I ever wanted a place to gather my thoughts or be alone. I wasn’t sure how well I’d adjust to giving up that luxury.
Aside from not being sure how well I’d adjust to simply having a roommate, I also barely knew anything about my roommate. Since I possessed no knowledge on their personality or habits, I was concerned that we could share a distaste for each other’s company. That was a situation I wanted to avoid, but feared would occur despite whatever actions I may take.
Since I moved into the dorm first, I spent my first night there pondering what I could or should say to try and break the ice with him. I had a major internal debate over whether I should ask him if there were any particular movies he liked, any shared video game experiences, similar classes or topic interests or even what their high school had been like.
Ultimately though, I still felt there was no perfect way for me to engage in conversation with my roommate, so I decided to wait and see what would happen.
When he arrived to campus the next morning, I finally got to talk with him in person for the first time. We discussed rooming arrangements, and I helped him and his family make some adjustments to our room before leaving to give him some time alone with them.
When I returned to the room later that afternoon, I managed to strike up a discussion about our high schools, but I still wasn’t sure if he was very talkative, and I didn’t make any further efforts to engage afterwards due to fear of inadvertently antagonizing him. So, I was left with a persistent anxiety that my habits may clash with his, and that the living situation could easily deteriorate at any point.
However, that worst-case scenario was nearly the complete opposite of what actually occurred.
My roommate and I had similar sleeping habits, as both of us are night-owls. I tended to keep my side of the room more organized than him, but he never allowed his items to intrude on my side, so I didn’t complain. He was relatively quiet in the room as well, and we were both able to get homework done in the dorm when necessary.
And, best of all, we even managed to form a true friendship. As we got to know each other, we spent more time hanging out at the dining halls and various school events. We met several people living in the same corridor as us who we both enjoyed spending time with. We opened up more to them and each other through our many conversations. Although I learned he and I disagree on what movies or games we enjoyed in our free time, I actually learned to take pleasure in many of the card games he later introduced to me.
The living situation could not have worked out any better.
Ultimately, I realized that I had managed to not only adjust to, but even thrive, in a dorm setting with a roommate. I was able to even build a friendship with my roommate and others in my corridor. Those few months I dreaded living through have come and gone, and I have to say that I am deeply grateful to have had the opportunity to live with a good roommate.