JJ: On Freshman Year Roommates

JJI’ve always lived in the world of movies, found solace, hope, excitement, and a new outlook. Movies portray freshman year roommates as friends for life, whether it is Sideways to Chuck & Larry, and that was the expectation heading into my freshman year. Bam, I thought I was off to a great start. I had the opportunity to have two roommates; I surely had to hit it off with at least one of them.

But alas, the fates of movies do not hold true for me. My first roommate, Matt, was a cocky and arrogant walk-on football player. Trying to build a friendship was like talking to a wall that kept crashing down upon you. Never knew what hours his classes were, but by god his “luck” would have it that his class was canceled for the day. But just the total lack of respect for women was appalling. Women were objects for his games and use, and made it almost unbearable to walk down the all girl hallway without sneers and discomfort. But the jewel of the living arrangement was the legendary sleep walking incident in which, he almost fell out a window, ran into a wall, threw a bottle of peanut butter at my pillow (luckily I was not sleeping at 3 am), and caroused around campus at 4 am in just his boxers and a backpack. It was an eventful night, but it drove me insane that I was working tirelessly to succeed and he was cruising through going to limited classes. Second semester rolls around and he arrives for 2 weeks, and quickly kicked out for a dismal GPA. First roommate has left the building never to return.
In walks roommate number 2, Donnell, who is quiet spoken and serious upon arrival. Granted his parents did not like me because I was a northern Yankee, but a friendship emerges through dealing with Matt’s shenanigans. He was part of the ROTC, and seemingly dedicated to his duties and responsibilities. Diligently worked on his studies and always willing to play videogames. The only major disagreement was Celtics vs. Lakers, in which the Celtics took the championship that year. But I thought great! I had found that freshman year roommate that will be battle tested through the next 4 years, and will come out on top of the mountain together.
During the summer, reality sets in. Donnell had never passed the physical exam for ROTC and was not returning to school. While trying to keep up as friends visiting every other weekend, the grind of school, work, and a new girlfriend soon kept the friendship on the back burner.
What I truly wish I knew going in on freshman year roommates was that the luckily hood of success is slim rather than the norm. Always approach it with open mind and willing soul, but don’t feel like a failure if your freshman year roommate(s) do not turn into lifelong friends. You may discover a lot of new things, and realize you have hilarious stories to tell, but not the lasting friendships that are portrayed in movies. Don’t fret and become disheveled because college is still extremely entertaining if you find your on beaten path, but freshman year roommates at times can be an interesting minefield to navigate, but allow you to discover more about yourself and who you wish to be moving forward.

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