Like any other teenager, I followed a lazy way of life. Some days I left the house without making my bed, I let my clothes pile up in the corner or I had cereal every meal of the day. My laissez-faire days came to a screeching halt, however, once I got to college. My roommate shared a similar lifestyle. By watching my old habits play out in front of me, I realized I wanted to change. I may have embraced my lazy side before, but college helped me break out of that mold.
It was well past 10 a.m. when someone shouting in the hallway woke me up. Reluctantly, I finally climbed out of bed when it became clear to me I wouldn’t get back those couple minutes of sleep. Instead, I decided to get ready for the day and hopefully find some peace in the shower.
I like to consider myself a pretty environmentally-friendly person, but long showers are my guilty pleasures. A solid 20 minutes passed when I eventually got back to my dorm. Once I did, I saw my roommate still in bed. I did my best to not disturb her, but I couldn’t help if my shower shoes squeaked or if the closet door creaked when I opened it. Nevertheless, I ended up waking my roommate from her slumber. I expected to hear a good morning or even a simple hey, but instead she greeted me with a dirty look. We went about our morning routines and I thought that was the end of that. Clearly, however, she still had a grudge.
That morning, my roommate lectured me that messing with her sleep schedule was a big mistake. She insisted that she needed to sleep until at least noon in order to function, and that we were ruining that. Don’t get me wrong, I felt bad for disrupting her good night’s sleep but her argument didn’t seem valid to me. It was already halfway through the day and she was mad that she wasn’t asleep during it?
I offered a truce by asking if she wanted to grab lunch at the diner, to which she eagerly agreed. Everyone loves food so I thought we could bond over that, but I was wrong about that, too. She took one look at my plate filled my favorites: pineapple, broccoli and tofu before scoffing. “Are you just gonna be a rabbit today?” she said.
We sat in silence as I ate my rabbit-food and she ate her pizza. While her French fries did look delicious, I also thought there was nothing wrong in wanting to eat healthy. It didn’t make me a “rabbit” or obnoxious or whatever my roommate tried to hint at earlier. Besides, I wanted to take care of myself and I saw no shame in that.
Things got worse once I started going to the gym. One Saturday afternoon I decided to get in a quick run before my friends and I headed out to dinner. I could barely tie the laces on my shoes without hearing sarcastic comments.
“Why do you need to work out?”
“You’re so tiny that seems a little intense for you!”
“Who are you trying to impress?”
I looked over at my roommate, still lying in bed watching Netflix instead of working on that essay she said was super important. I didn’t judge the way she did things, so it bothered me that she wanted to judge me for the way I did them.
I’ll admit that in high school I was more of a couch potato. After seeing that effect on my roommate’s attitude and behaviors, however, I decided that wasn’t what I wanted for myself. I wanted to get fresh air as much as possible, I wanted to eat healthy so I could look and feel good and I wanted to exercise more so I could stay in shape.
College gave me the free time to do all those things, but more importantly my roommate gave me the motivations to stick with it. I didn’t need to pay attention to her backhand comments or little jabs, because they didn’t matter.
You’ll soon learn that nobody’s opinion matters besides your own. College is a great time for personal growth, but you can’t do that if you keep worrying how people think of you or what they want to say about you. You do you. Besides, I guarantee everyone’s too tired or too hungover to notice what you’re doing.