Who isn’t nervous about sharing a room with someone in college? I was. I hoped that we would not only get along, but become close friends. After several failed attempts to select a roommate through the school’s online system, I left it up to fate.
Compared to other randomly matched roommates, I think we got lucky. We always got along perfectly well. The first few weeks of school, we went to Zumba together and ate together at the dining hall. Oftentimes, we weren’t in our dorm together until night. But when we were, we would talk or each work on our own things. If she knew I was sick, she would leave a post-it note on my desk wishing me to feel better. If I knew she was having a bad day, I would leave her one saying tomorrow will be better.
The post-it notes slowly became a theme in our room. They even hung by our mirrors. I liked seeing them there every day and watching them accumulate over time.
But I could also tell from early on that we were very different. She seemed to have it all figured out. I felt like I was kind of a mess compared to her. She woke up early on the weekend to get ahead on school readings. She was so passionate about her choice of major and the classes that came with it, while I was still indecisive and trying to find myself.
On a deeper level, she was more well-traveled than I was. She held a worldlier perspective on things because of the different places she’s lived. I often compared our situations with one another, very much in my own head.
Our personal interests also landed on opposite ends of the spectrum. I tried to explain to her why I obsessed over the Mets. She always listened and tried to understand. I invited her to a few baseball games and she always politely declined. Similarly, one of her favorite shows was Game of Thrones. One night, she invited me to watch an episode with her. Although I did try, I couldn’t bring myself to want to watch anymore.
In the end I realized we really didn’t have that much in common, besides the fact that we both favor Reese’s over any other candy. Despite our many differences, I felt that we still understood each other. I found beauty in the fact that we still got along so well even though our backgrounds and interests didn’t line up at all. I always turned to her for advice and she was always there for me. She got me through homesickness and my first real break-up. Yet, while we understood each other, we just weren’t the best of friends. Our relationship was a peculiar bond that I never experienced with anyone else.
When our freshman year ended, she decided to live with her sister the following year. We went our separate ways, but still occasionally find our way back to each other. We get together several times a semester to catch up on each other’s lives. If I ever need life advice, I still think of her first.
I look back with such appreciation of spending freshman year as her roommate. We might not be best friends, but we made pretty good roommates.
I kept all the post-it notes she left in an envelope in my drawer. Looking through them brings back a lot of fond memories of my freshman year. One specific note that she left on my desk sums everything up:
“I always appreciate your company, whether in silence or with words.”