Coming to my freshman year in college was exciting. Like many before me, I was thrilled to start my life. In August, I got an email from Residential Life and Housing about two roommates I was assigned to. One I knew from high school, but the other was a stranger.
When we moved into Peavine Hall, it was fine initially. She seemed distant compared to my high school friend, but I could understand why.
It wasn’t until September that things between the three of us started to drift; my two roommates began to fight with one another.
One claimed the other was too loud in the morning—and messy. The irritating thing about it was both of them tried to use me as leverage against the other when I didn’t have a solid opinion. I knew that living in the residence halls, you were going to have to sacrifice some things since you were living with people who may not share your lifestyle.
The hostility in my room gradually increased to the point where my old high school friend and I didn’t want to be in the room. We reached out to Resident Assistants and our friends for advice, but nothing worked.
It wasn’t until spring semester that I snapped.
I asked my roommate if she could clean more. Out of the three of us, I actively cleaned the room the most. She demanded I tell her what she made dirty, then denied every example I gave her.
This experience caused me to not bring anything up with her and passively accept her behaviors. Whether it was cleaning, being loud or asking her to not make popcorn at 3:00 a.m., my friend and I didn’t say anything to her.
It is true, when you have roommates, that you’re going to sacrifice some things—however, those sacrifices end up being compromises. I failed to make any compromises with my roommate. Because of this situation, I left four days before I planned to move out completely for the summer.
That year left me mentally exhausted. It was a year of hostility and a lack of respect. I still am grateful for the experience since I now know how to properly handle these situations.
What you should take away from my experience is don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself, even if the person may not accept it initially. If you keep going at it, they’ll eventually stop the behavior even out of pure annoyance. You just can’t keep everything in. Keeping your emotions all bottled up with causes you to have a horrible roommate experience as I did my freshman year.
I deserved respect and so do you,
Taylor Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @taylorkendyll.