Freshmen at New York University can’t choose their roommates.
They get random roommates, that’s a rule.
I knew that could be paired up with someone I had nothing in common with so I reduced the uncertainty by applying to the Photography Exploration Floor at Third North Residence Hall. Whoever was going to be my roommate would share my interest in photography and that could be a starting point for a new friendship.
As soon as the room assignments were released, I contacted the five other girls I would share a three-bedroom apartment, with one bathroom and a tiny kitchen. NYU tried to make our apartment as diverse as possible. We couldn’t stop thinking about going for Korean BBQ, dancing Salsa and watching Bollywood movies.
Our group chat soon became filled up with lovely messages showing that we couldn’t wait to live with each other.
We tried suitemate-bonding activities like going out to eat and cleaning the apartment together. But the more we got to know each the more we noticed we had nothing in common. They didn’t even like photography that much.
As part of the dorm’s rules, we had to set the living agreements. We decided: guests allowed, lights off while sleeping, wash dishes after use and clean the apartment once a week. Problems started when we put the rules into practice. We all had different interpretations of what they meant.
From honeymoon to nightmare
Dorm parties are at the top of the college experience, but when you aren’t friends with your suitemates and their friends, you aren’t invited to parties in your own apartment. Things can get really uncomfortable. Cleaning the apartment and fairly distributing the storage space in the kitchen became our main sources of fights.
Our RA put name tags on the fridge shelves and create a cleaning schedule for us to follow because we couldn’t agree on anything by ourselves. Argument after argument, the heart emojis in our group chat became capital letters and swearing words.
Things inside my room weren’t great either. One day, my roommate asked me if she could have a friend overnight. “Ok,” I said.
I didn’t foresee that my one-time approval would be the starting point of several weekends having her friends overnight, sleeping on the floor in the tiny space between our beds that couldn’t even fit another bed.
My roommate and I had constant arguments because she was an all-nighter and I was an early-bird. Deciding on quiet hours and when to turn the lights off was always a struggle. I started to feel displaced from my own room, with a complete lack of privacy and sleep.
Bed for bed
I wasn’t the only one feeling like this, one of my suitemates also had problems with her roommate. After reading our lifestyle questionnaires, we discovered that NYU paired-up on purpose an all-nighter with an early bird.
And we decided that it was better to swap rooms and avoid future conflicts. My new roommate and I saw this change as an opportunity to get to know each other again. We discovered that we loved yoga, vegan food and art, so we became close friends.
I had a very tumultuous first year in the dorms, but all those conflicts prepared me to face whatever future challenges comes up.