TMI in a Tiny Room: My Awful Freshman Roommate Story

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We’ve all heard the story: two college students are randomly matched as roommates and magically become life-long besties. From the overzealous RA to the perpetual stoner who somehow never gets caught, there’s a lot of room for making or breaking expectations. Unfortunately, when it came time to move into my dorm for the fall semester I held the simple (but oh so incorrect) assumption my roommate and I would get along. I’m not saying we were regularly screaming at each other, but the sometimes icy, and eternally passive-aggressive, nature of our relationship undoubtedly took years off my life.

My freshman roommate had a seemingly compulsive oversharing problem. I found it odd and pretty uncomfortable that she thought it necessary to bring up her masturbation habits five times within our first week together. The awkwardness of these conversations would later pale in comparison to the times I had the misfortune of walking in on her during these moments. I was frequently forced to hear things from her I never should’ve been subjected to, such as the unprompted tale of her first hand job. Somehow the abhorrent looks I made at these revelations were not enough to sway her from divulging the very intimate details of her life.

I eventually managed to adjust to the fact that She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named simply had no form of personal boundaries. Her activities and revelations, however, were made infinitely more uncomfortable by her perpetual lack of pants. In fairness, she did ask if I was uncomfortable with her walking around in her underwear and I told her it was fine. However, I didn’t know her disdain for pants would carry over to the days she decided to wear a thong. I saw more of that girl in our five months as roommates than I ever wanted to see.

It’s difficult to take people with two sets of habits and stick them together in a room the size of a shoebox, simply hoping for the best. I recognize that now, but I don’t think there will ever come a day when I welcome a person reentering my apartment loudly at any time between three and five a.m. She’d come home and I’d roll over grumpily in a fruitless attempt to fall back asleep. Mind you, she left her dirty clothes from the night in our kitchen so as not to wake me with the sound of dropping them in her hamper. Given that consideration, I’m not sure how she thought dropping bowling balls in the other room, or whatever she was doing, wouldn’t wake me. After finally falling asleep again I would wake up to the sight of sweaty club clothes on my kitchen table, which was pretty gross, thong and all.

After only a few weeks I discovered that her mere presence sent my soul into a fiery rage, so I made an attempt to be home as infrequently as possible. I studied at the student union between classes and spent afternoons and evenings over at my best friend’s dorm as often as she would have me. While the situation was awful, it turns out the avoidance did something wonderful for me. When spending time with my best friend, I met the people on her dorm floor who were lovely and who remain some of my closest friends to this day.

It’s funny to me now because I was never meant to be friends with my roommate, but I found my friends because of her. College will lead you to some wonderful people and some who make you want to scream more often than not. I’ve still found that even those people for whom you have a deep-seeded loathing for will have a purpose in your life. My roommate wasn’t a bad person; she was simply bad for me. While she still oscillates between ignoring me completely and giving me the stink eye when we cross paths on campus, I remember the time I spent with her and laugh (probably more than I should). I still don’t want to be friends with her, but she does make for good stories.

Kelly is a senior at the University of Florida majoring in English and Anthropology. She is highly prone to feminist rants and has an unhealthy obsession with books.

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