As I write this, I glance around every now and again to look at all the stuff I’ve accumulated. I look at the guitar in the corner I keep promising myself that I’ll learn to play. I look at the big, old television that my uncle loaned me because he wasn’t using it. I look at the stacks and stacks of books that I stare at every single day without opening or sometimes even touching. I am a junior at one of the finest universities in the state of Florida, and come the fall semester I’m abandoning my cushy, private, off-campus apartment to move onto campus with a roommate who I’ve never met.
Sounds a bit backwards, no? Normally, the student comes fresh to college as a first year and stays on campus because they don’t know their way around the college life. For most, it’s their first time living away from home. I’m not moving for those reasons. I’ve spent nearly three years in the college “lifestyle.” No, I’m moving because where I’m living right now might as well be an island at sea. When I’m not at class or the odd club meeting, I’m cut off from most human interaction that doesn’t take place over Skype or the phone.
Everything started nice enough, of course. I worked with my parents for a few months to end up with a nice place to live while I attended class. It’s a building just a few blocks off campus where I could get my own room and share a bathroom for the same price as a dorm in one of the major halls on campus. Thanks to an error on the agents’ part, I don’t have to share a thing. A nice, spacious room with all the facilities I’d ever need, all to my self. It took me roughly a week before I realized the downside.
See, I’ve been here for a while now and I know nobody in my building. I hardly recognize the faces. There’s just something about the place that encourages its tenants to wake up, leave to get on with their lives, then retreat back to the safety of their rooms. They lock themselves inside, put off sleep, then sleep until the next day when the process repeats once again. And you know what? I’m the same.
It’s not much different from when I was in high school. I would wake up way too early, struggle to stay awake and focused in my classes, then I would come home and hide from the world in my room and stare at a computer screen until I went to bed far too late. Here, over two years later, I still come home as fast as I can manage after class and lock myself in my room, with my untouched guitar, with my unread books, with my dusty camera, and I wait until it’s time to go to sleep. With nobody to impress, nobody to share any enthusiasm for these pastimes, I can’t find the will to practice.
It takes loss to appreciate what you’ve got. It takes isolation, often self-imposed, to realize that human beings are fundamentally social creatures. I can’t wait to introduce myself to my roommate. I can’t wait to be almost forced into interacting with living, breathing people face to face. Class doesn’t do it, because most of the time you’re staring at the professor and trying to keep up. Clubs don’t do it, because I find it hard to keep the motivation to keep going week after week, and even then I still haven’t found a club that’s right for me.
What I’m getting at is that I sincerely regret not sharing a room with someone. I don’t care if we don’t get along, but having nobody around leaves me with less concern for myself, since I’ve got nobody to impress. I let clothes pile up. I let things get dirty. Am I escaping this room, or am I escaping my own terrible habits? I’m waiting in my room. Right now. I’m looking forward to the end of the summer, when I can start taking part in this funny little ride we call life.
I’ll see you all when I get there.