By Caroline Davis
My roommate and I have a strange relationship. This is our third year living together, and it goes without saying that we’ve learned a lot about each other.
She knows that I will only be in our apartment for about 20 hours a week, and that when I am there I will either be trying to catch up on sleep or watching a bad reality television program that she will, no doubt, also get sucked into.
I know that she has an inexplicable affinity for all things cow-related, and that sometimes she forgets to wear clothes.
We both know that sometimes, weird things happen. Maybe she’ll drunkenly put her DVD of Underworld in the microwave because she thought it would be a good plate for her popcorn, and maybe I’ll come home to a room full of smoke and a laptop mysteriously covered in butter.
That said, we get along pretty well. We’ve figured out what buttons we can push, and which ones to steer clear of. I feel I’ve gotten pretty lucky with her. But relationships like ours are rare between college roommates.
Living with people who aren’t family members is a skill you have to acquire eventually, so you might as well develop it while you’re here at Furman. One of the things they don’t tell you in the brochures is that college is more than what you learn in the classroom. It’s about what you learn in your day-to-day interactions. It’s about figuring out how to be yourself without annoying the life out of everyone else.
First, you have to realize it’s not all about you. Not everyone is going to appreciate your “Periodic Table of Stuff Stoners Like” poster (yes, it’s a real thing). And if you insist on playing “Call Me Maybe” on repeat because it “helps you study,” at least wear headphones so that you don’t drive your roommate, who just got dumped by her significant other, into an even further depression.
The next step is to keep your junk clean. It’s fine if your own personal space looks like Hiroshima at the end of 1945, but be kinder to the spaces your roommate has to live with. Furman keeps us busy, so sometimes you won’t have time to invest in deep cleaning. Even then, Febreze is your friend. Vanilla air freshener is easy to use, and it’s a lot more pleasant than the scent of gym socks and old Pop Tarts. I promise.
Finally, keep in mind that your roommate is not the enemy. The next time you find yourself washing someone else’s dishes (or underwear, if the situation’s desperate), remember that it could always be worse. You could be living with Anthony Hopkins’ character from The Silence of the Lambs. Or you could be living with a vampiric tuba player who can only practice after sundown, and only knows the Addams Family theme.
This year will be full of struggles. Your roommate may be one of them. But don’t let that keep you from having a good time. Bad roommates make the best stories..and the best breakfast, if you’re Hannibal Lecter.