Double the Trouble or Double the Fun? Having Two Roommates Instead of One

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If you were drawn in by my Dr. Seuss-inspired title, thank you for your appreciation; unfortunately that will probably be the most clever part of the article, and definitely the last time anything rhymes. So if you came just for the sick wordplay, sorry to disappoint—you might want to stop reading.

But if you came for the subject matter, by all means, pull up a chair. People who’ve lived in triple dorms: We’re probably a pretty small group, but we also probably share a ton of common experiences. If you’re in a triple right now, congratulations: You’ll survive, and hopefully my experience can help you out a little.

I’ll be honest, when I found out I’d have to live in a triple, I was terrified. There are obvious expected drawbacks to living in a triple; you get a little more space than the doubles, but it’s definitely not enough for a third person. You have to share two closets among three people and someone has to take the top bunk. But being the weirdo that I am, all I could think about was my 11th grade sociology teacher in our group dynamics unit, telling us how much triads suck. Guess how many people are in a triad?

Triads supposedly blow because there’s inherent relationship inequality; two members are always going to bond more with one another than they do with the third person. It’s just what happens; we as humans are more inclined to form pairs. And it happened to me—my two roommates were much more similar to each other than I was to either of them—but it wasn’t nearly the nightmare that sociology would have you believe.

They are both absolutely wonderful human beings (Hi, Mel & Kayleigh!) and we’re still friends now, as juniors. We weren’t always on the same page, but we had more than a few late-night heart-to-hearts about books and boys and Scandal (of course). As great as it was to have a double the following year, I missed them. We endured the triple together, and I think we made each other’s lives a little easier by all being awesome.

But of course, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Three people in one room means three people’s worth of stuff, and no amount of extra square footage can prepare you for the sheer amount of crap that three people can accumulate over a few months. Our room was never dirty, per se, but it was almost always messy. One time my dad walked into our room after my roommates had cleaned one weekend, and he said, “Wow, this looks great! Last time I was here it was a real shit hole.” Thanks, Dad.

Although our personality clashes were minor, I think I probably felt them most deeply. I was the type whose weekends had two possible outcomes: go home, or watch Netflix in the dorm by myself. My roommates were much more adventurous and would trek to various parties each weekend (to their credit, they always asked me if I wanted to come, and I almost always said no).

Their absence meant I had the room to myself, which was sometimes nice—getting the room to yourself when there are two other people living in it is a rare phenomenon and should be treasured. But unfortunately, when you feel like the only loser on your floor that doesn’t want to go to a party, those extra few square feet make an empty triple feel especially lonely.

What really bummed me out wasn’t necessarily loneliness, but a sense of missing out. I wasn’t comfortable going to frat parties (I’m still not), and I didn’t feel like part of the crowd that went (still don’t), but most of all I didn’t want to be the weird borderline-introvert that cramped everyone’s style (still kind of am). The FOMO would hit me like a ton of bricks, and I’d sit on my bed, eating Ben & Jerry’s and watching The Tonight Show, wondering “Why didn’t I just go to the party?”

It’s stupid to feel left out when you deliberately exclude yourself, but there I was, doing exactly that. It sucked, so I spent most of my weekends at home, still eating Ben & Jerry’s and watching TV, but doing so contently, without comparing myself to anyone.

I don’t have that problem anymore, but it didn’t come with moving out of the triple. It came with realizing that everyone experiences college differently, and that I wasn’t a loser for not doing what I thought college students were supposed to do. Not to sound all high-and-mighty—I didn’t suddenly transcend loser-dom when I realized this—but it at least helped me feel like less of a loser. In that sense, living in a triple helped me realize one of the essential truths of college life: that there’s no “right way” to do it.

Of course, it helped that I lived with girls who didn’t pressure me to go out, but also didn’t mock me for staying in. (Seriously, shoutout to my girls. They are queens.) I guess what I’m saying is that of course there are drawbacks to living in a triple, but if you get lucky with roommates like I did, you could learn a hell of a lot about yourself. And hell, even if you don’t get the top of the roommate pool, it’s not the end of the world. Next year is just around the corner, and a double awaits you.

University of Maryland junior studying English and Linguistics. Super into books, food, and Parks & Rec, Terp for life, and future crazy dog lady.

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