Dorm Life: Things You’re Never Told About Moving In with a Stranger

Last week, I started the last semester of my senior year of college.

Over the last four years of college, I’ve lived in both dorms and off-campus apartments and have had nine different roommates.

I had a roommate sophomore year that smoked in our apartment and left cigarette butts in her room. One roommate woke me up at 6 a.m. every morning while she watched monster truck shows before leaving for class. My current roommate’s bunny chewed a hole in our living room carpet and bit off the buttons on the remote control.

I’ve seen it all!

No one ever warned me about moving in with a roommate I didn’t know. When I left home for college, my parents promised me that I would have the time of my life living in a dorm and that my roommate and I would get along swimmingly.

Things didn’t happen quite like my parents described they would…

My First Roommate

The fall of my freshman year, I moved in to the dorms with a girl I had never met before. The day we moved in, we talked the whole time we were unpacking and I felt like we would actually become friends.

The second night of living together, however, I realized she was uninterested in being my friend. She invited her boyfriend over to spend the night without asking me. When he left in the morning, I told my roommate that I was uncomfortable with having a guy I didn’t know spending the night in my room.

Her boyfriend never came over again. My roommate started to drive home every night after class to sleep at her parent’s house. Halfway through October that year, she came to me and told me she was going to move home and commute for the rest of the year, meaning I would be getting a new roommate for the second semester.

The New Roommate

A small part of me hoped I would get a new roommate who I would instantly become friends with. Of course that didn’t happen… I came back from winter break to discover that my new roommate was a million times worse than the first one.

My new roommate didn’t know how to clean. Her dirty laundry was piled so high on her side of the room that you couldn’t even see the floor. Her things were jammed into her dresser so the drawers couldn’t close.

She thought that pouring Ramen noodles down our bathroom sink was a good idea. I once walked by her desk to discover chicken nuggets sitting inside; they were there for a good two weeks.

I am by no means claiming that I’m the cleanest person in the world, but I definitely don’t keep rotted food in my desk. I couldn’t believe that someone could live like that. I confronted my roommate about needing to clean up her things because it was my room too. She told me that she was an only child and had “never shared a room before.”

Lessons Learned

That was when I decided that I would never again live with anyone who I didn’t know. I figured that I should only live with those who I knew were for the most part clean, nice and not completely disgusting.

I’m not saying that “going in blind” freshman year is always bad—I know plenty of people that are still best friends with their freshman year roommate, even after years have passed.

Just keep in mind that everyone is different and there are going to be people you don’t get along with or share things in common with (such as cleanliness and manners).

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Melissa McDonald

Melissa McDonald

Melissa McDonald is a senior at Central Michigan University pursuing a degree in journalism and a minor in hospitality services administration. At school, Melissa writes articles for her school's online magazine and is a member of CMU's Hospitality and Tourism Society. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys spending time at home with her family, traveling, shopping and maintaining her personal blog.
Melissa McDonald

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