There are countless stories about people who go to college, meet their randomly assigned roommate and become best friends for life. Sometimes, that happens and fireworks go off the instant you realize that you’ve found a great friend with whom you really connect, and your fear of being alone in college subsides. But, sometimes that doesn’t happen.
I began my freshman year in college not knowing anybody. I was the only person out of my senior class to attend a major four-year university, and I was eager to make new friends. I had made the decision to be paired up with a random roommate for the duration of my freshman year. I was shy in high school and wanted to expand my horizons as I started college. We had already received each other’s contact information and exchanged Twitter handles. She seemed just as excited to start school as I was and we were both eager to make new friends. We even decided to pick out comforters and pillows in the same color palette. As we prepared to move in, we kept in contact regularly and I was eager to meet my first college friend in person. We had exchanged dozens of text messages about our classes, hobbies and goals for our first year in college. Overall, she seemed very reasonable and friendly.
Typical freshman jitters ensued, with all the nervousness of being on my own and the eagerness to meet new people making me that much more excited for college.
I met my roommate when I was moving into my dorm. I saw her in person for the first time and she was still just as friendly as she was over text. We got along just fine for the first few weeks that we lived together. I was optimistic about this new friendship and was hopeful that we would become even better friends throughout the year.
A few weeks later, we were both sitting at our desks (which were of course four feet from each other in our 10×10 dorm room) when she asked me if I would mind if her boyfriend came down to visit for the weekend. I didn’t hesitate at all to give her my blessing. She was nice enough, so I figured her boyfriend would be equally friendly. My only request was that they refrained from hooking up while I was in the room, and she assured me that nothing like that would happen.
When he arrived Friday afternoon, everything still seemed to be fine. He was nice enough and they stayed out of the room for most of the evening. Most of my friends went out of town or were busy, so I was planning on staying in for the weekend to catch up on some homework. I went to bed around 11 and never even heard them come in.
I realized they were in the dorm when I woke up at 7 the next morning. I rolled over and opened my eyes to see the two of them in my roommate’s bed, naked, doing the one thing I asked her to refrain from doing with me in the room. He must have heard me roll over, because the instant I opened my eyes, he was looking right at me. I made eye contact with my roommate’s naked boyfriend for a split second and then I immediately shut my eyes, rolled back over, and pretended that I was asleep and tried not to listen to what was still happening five feet away. They didn’t stop, so I stayed in my bed for what felt like hours, trying to block the image of what I had just seen out of my brain. They eventually got up and went about their day while I called my mom crying and begging to come back home immediately.
I avoided them for the rest of the weekend and spent my time deciding whether or not to confront her about it. I just wanted to forget that it ever happened, so I never mentioned it and neither did she. I still wonder if she was even aware of her creepy boyfriend staring at me. The rest of the year consisted of me avoiding most conversations with her and literally fleeing the room whenever her boyfriend came over again.
We were not friends after that weekend. We did not become soul sisters. We did not spend the remaining years of college doing everything together. I barely spoke to her for the last few months of the year and when we moved out we said goodbye and that was it. I had already seen more of her and her boyfriend than I would have liked to and I had no desire to continue a friendship with someone who had such little respect for me. I couldn’t have been happier to move out and never see her again.
So not all freshman roommates turn into best friends. Some don’t even turn into acquaintances. Some, along with their boyfriends, do turn into mental images that are engraved in your brain no matter how hard you try to forget.