- Politics and Social Issues
College Dorms: This House Is Not A Home
If you shouldn't meet your heroes, then maybe you shouldn't room with your friends either.
Growing up you've probably had sleepovers with your closest friends or even a group of friends that include friends of friends you didn't know all that well. Based on these experiences, you might think you could handle living together in a dorm room or off-campus apartment, but you may want to think again. Whether you end up rooming with someone you've known for years or someone you've only just met, conflicts can arise out of nowhere and damage your relationships with the people around you.
To quote a popular web series, "Girls can't share anything, not even an apartment. After six months, they all hate each other and someone gets stuck with a huge phone bill" (I'm paraphrasing, of course, but cool points to those of you who know what or who I'm referencing). I'm a female, so I know this to be more or less true, but I don't know if it's the same way with men. My male colleagues didn't seem to go through as much drama as the rest of us did, and I envy them for that. I'm not even sure how it happens, but prospective boarders should be aware that it's a real phenomenon. A semester at college is a little less than six months, but the claim holds true. Whether it's caused by stress or irreconciliable differences, the relationship between roommates, whether they started as friends or not, is often strained by the end of their time together.
Obviously, if someone is being a jerk on purpose, the situation is easily rectified by separation and minimal levels of hurt feelings. In this case, living with friends you can at least start out getting along with is more appealing than sticking it out with people who don't know you, can't relate to you, and can't get along with you as a result. However, when a friendship is at stake, matters can become complicated. Duos can get along famously or not with little-to-no consequence, but three or more should constitute a sort of sisterhood or pseudo-family vibe. Unfortunately, just as college dorms are not homes, a gaggle of roommates does not always amount to a family, if even a very dysfunctional one. By the end of the semester, you need a break from your studies and each other. Because you still want to be friends, it's even more painful an experience when you give it your all but don't understand what went wrong aside from the side-effects of collegiate or other stress. It's really a shame when people who want to get along can't because of misunderstandings or differences in opinion.
Depending on how dorm rooms are assigned, whether the buildings are co-ed or not, you may also have to contend with everybody in the building or at least on your floor. In my experience, a shared bathroom in the middle of an all-girl floor gets crowded around 10:30 PM. Also, because it's college, most people usually sleep late and stay up late; if you're an early to bed, early to rise type of person, you're pretty much screwed as it's you who's commonly expected to be quiet and not the other way around. Ear plugs are the best way to go if you can keep them from falling out and getting lost in the middle of the night. In the end, getting through college is a little like getting through life - just grin and bear it and someday it'll all be over.