When I first started college, the closest I had been to permanently sharing a room was the time when my brother and I (ages 2 and 5 at the time) decided we should sleep in the same room so we could have an extra room to keep all our toys in. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out. As it turns out, there is no middle ground between Barbies and baseball.

After that, I went to a couple of camps, leadership activities, and debates, among other things, where I had to share a room, but it was typically for a couple of days, so it always went fine. That was until I turned 15, and I took my “quince” trip (traditional in Latin America). I went to Europe with a couple other girls who were turning 15 for a month, and I had to share my room with my best friend for a month.

Besides the fact that it was the most amazing experience of my life, it was NOT easy. My best friend and I would fight everyday over the most random and stupid stuff. A couple months after I participated in a program called Lorenzo de Zavala (Youth Legislative Session), run by the National Hispanic Institute, and I had to share a house with five other girls for a week. It probably sounds awesome, and it was, until the last night, where I got into a fight with the five other girls. Oops. And last but not least, for my senior trip, I shared a room with two of my best friends. And yes, we fought a lot. And I’m willing to admit, this time it was mainly my fault, but we love each other, so it worked out fine.

Regardless of all these experiences, I was really excited to have a roommate in college. The only thing I wanted in a roommate was a normal girl who enjoyed not being cold as much as I did (Guess what I was always fighting about…Is it so hard to have the room at a normal non-freezing temperature?). So, I was beyond ecstatic when I received my housing assignment last year. I tried looking for my roommate in every social networking site I could imagine, but I never had any luck, so I had no idea what my roommate looked like.

Then moving-in day rolled by, and as I put my belongings in my new room, I realized the stuff in the other side of the room did not belong to a girl named Shi, but to a girl named Malissa. I actually did meet Malissa that day. She was a really nice girl, but she wasn’t my roommate for very long either. The next day when I came back to my room all her stuff was gone. It turns out she was paying for a private room, so she moved out.

I actually did end up meeting Shi at International Orientation. She was in my Biology class, and we ended up talking to each other quite a lot throughout the semester, but she wasn’t my roommate either. There had been some sort of mix up, and for the time being, I was by myself. However, my CA assured me that there were a couple other girls moving into my building, and I was sure to get a roommate soon.

I spent two weeks by myself, until one day, I went back to my room and strangely enough, the door was unlocked. Turns out, I finally had a roommate! Megan and I did get along from the beginning, but it wasn’t after two or three weeks that we already considered each other good friends. After 4 months, I can safely say we had an awesome roommate experience. I really love Megan for putting up with me these four months.

I woke up at around 7:30, and she usually slept until after 10, and she never said anything about it. Of course, I dressed as quietly as I could, and it also helps that she is a sound-sleeper. She also didn’t care anything about the fact that I need to sleep with a night light (Hey, if Taylor Swift does it, so can I). I also was fine with the fact that she could be a little less than neat sometimes, because at the end she always ended up cleaning up her space. And we always had fun doing little stuff, like grocery shopping, or eating at the cafeteria. Unfortunately, Megan is not going to live on campus anymore, but I’m sure going to miss her as my roommate.

What I learned from my roommate experience is that in order to make your relationship with your roommate work, you must be willing to compromise. No two people are alike (and even if they were, that would be super boring) so it’s impossible you are going to agree on everything. If you have it your way one time, let your roommate make the decision next time. Always respect your roommate’s privacy. If your roommate needs quiet when studying or sleeping, try your best to keep quiet! I also think it’s really important to have an actual relationship with your roommate instead of just finding a way to survive together. If both of you are completely incompatible, there’s not a lot you can do. But remember, having a roommate means having someone to talk to late at night, someone to share snacks with, someone to go to the gym with (or someone you can tell “Hey, we should really start going to the gym” eighteen times a week, and then never doing it), and someone who can be a great friend if you give him or her the chance!

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Clarissa Gallardo is a sophomore at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Originally from Panama City, Panama (only place in the world where you can see the sun rise in the Pacific and set on the Atlantic!), she is majoring in Mechanical Engineering and minoring in Mathematics and Ballet. A member of the Honors Program and dancer at heart, you can find her studying at the library, scrolling through her Tumblr feed , dancing, or reading. Clarissa has a really bad case of wanderlust and is obsessed with white chocolate mochas, The Big Bang Theory, and Doctor Reid from Criminal Minds. You can follow her on Twitter and on Tumblr.

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  1. Sara on July 21, 2013

    I actually had a similar situation a couple of years ago when I spent a month abroad at an EF residence in Washington. I shared a two-room cabana with 3 other girls. Two of them where in one a room, and I shared the other room with a Thai girl. She was realllllly messy, she had all of her stuff laying around the room, and she never cleaned up her mess. I actually had to talk to our supervisor about it, and then she kinda cleaned up for about 3 days and then she became her usual self again. It was sort of an awkward situation because we never really developed a friendly relationship, we were just roommates. What I learned from this experience is that although we don’t necessarily need to become BFF’s with our roommates, it is imperative to maintain a cordial relationship with them in order for us to not go completely insane 🙂

    BTW, kudos on this post, it’s great!!

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