How to deal with being the weird roommate

Aug 23, 2017 at 1:00 am

You never forget your first roommate. Whether it's for a good reason or a bad one, your roommate's reach will follow you throughout your college years and maybe years after that.

Even those who had the lucky chance to choose their first roommate leave with some kind of story. Let's face it, living with some random person for nine months of the year, something's bound to happen — even moreso if you subjected yourself to the magical sorting hat that is the school's random roommate selection process.

So everyone has a horror story about the weirdo they ended up sharing a room with their freshman year. And if they don't, they were probably the weirdo.

Looking back at my freshman year — and realizing just how often I was telling my friends, "Wow my roommate is the best," or "Maddie is so nice," only to hear my friends grumble about theirs — I just figured I was lucky. Which I was, but it was not even two weeks into my sophomore year that my second roommate decided to move out of our room (to the opposite side of the campus to be exact) that I started to reflect on myself.

That was when I realized I was the bad roommate. I was the weirdo.

During my freshmen year, I was constantly dancing to K-Pop music whenever she walked in, I never really left our room, I was constantly on her side of the room for any little thing, I never went to sleep before 4 a.m., and I talked to myself frequently and loudly.

The most revealing moment had to be when her cousin came to stay for a few days. I had just come back from the shower when she also walked in, holding a towel and toiletries. The first thing she said was, "Wow, someone was singing their hearts out in there to the weirdest music. It was so funny, I feel bad for whoever has to deal with that." There was an uncomfortable, awkward silence as it dawned on everyone that she was clearly talking about me — I was the only other person in the bathroom.

I wasn't a night screamer or obsessively clingy. I wasn't a day-masturbator or a hoarder. But looking back, was I any better of a roommate?

It took me a minute to accept my new status as the weird roommate. It was a process similar to the five stages of grieving:

First there's the Denial. You refuse to believe that you were that roommate. The one everyone on the floor whispered about, the one that their roommate actively tries to avoid. "I'm not that weird, everybody has snacks in the shower," or "It's totally reasonable to water my fake plants, you know, just in case." The scenarios all play through your head and you convince yourself that's not you at all.

But then you get Mad. Thinking about your misdeeds constantly can put you in a bad mood. You're mad at yourself, you're mad at everyone else being so clearly aware of your misconduct as a roommate. "What is this, third grade? Who even cares? Why didn't they tell me? Why didn't I know?" and you just spiral out of control.

Then the Bargaining starts. If only you hadn't been wasted and made your roommate have to take care of you all night when they had an early schedule the next day, maybe things would still be good and you could go about your day pretending you didn't know your roommate probably hated you.

This leads to the Sadness. That lost feeling is settling in now. "Man, how long have I been like this?" You start to sulk and sink more and more into your weirdness. This could last a while.

Once you get past the darkness, you just Accept it. You get over yourself and realize that a ton people are weird, and that's OK. Just be yourself and your roommate will have to deal with it. Unless you're an asshole. Don't be an asshole.

Being a roommate is hard, but if the both of you can learn to compromise and accept each other, even if you don't quite understand each other, the semesters will fly by and you can leave each other relatively unscathed. And that's all you can really ask for when you accept that you're probably the problem in the roommate relationship.

Skyler Murry is an editorial intern at Metro Times.