I started college at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. I originally intended to major in pre-veterinary science with a focus on agriculture. I soon came to realize what exactly it meant to major in agriculture. One of my first assignments? Guessing how much meat a live sheep I met this week will make after they kill it the next. There are two problems with this scenario. At the time, I described myself as a strict vegetarian and I intended to obtain a career as a veterinarian to save animals, not kill them.
My story starts after the university accepts students. Purdue provides a questionnaire for those who will be living in the dorms to fill out about their roommate preferences. It asks simple questions such as: are you clean or messy, do you prefer to live with someone who is clean or messy, or are you indifferent, what is your sleep schedule, are you a night or morning person? Then some other questions that would be necessary to place you with someone you need to spend the next year sharing a tiny space with. At that time, I could be described as a walking tornado, and I made it a point to check that box. When it came to my preferences, I chose the element of surprise and answered “indifferent” to all.
A week or so later, I received a letter saying Purdue placed me in the Hilltop Apartments, where they gave me three roommates: Ali from Northern Indiana, Clarissa from Venezuela and Karlene from Honduras. Ali, Karlene and I all moved in the week before classes started to participate in the “Boiler Gold Rush,” or welcome week celebrations. Clarissa moved in the weekend before classes started. As soon as she walked in the door with her family it became obvious as to why she did not need orientation. Clearly her very scary dad controlled all of Venezuela and maybe Purdue. Karlene seemed quiet and serious (definitely thrown off by our, let’s say, Americaness), but luckily, a friend from Honduras came to school with her. Then came Ali. I had never experienced someone quite so open…so very open. Karlene and I could be described as “inexperienced.” Ali let us know that very first night just how much she loved her “experiences” and offered me and Karlene advice anytime. I’m unsure either of us ever took her up on that offer. Clarissa, like Karlene, came to Purdue on her own from a different country. I would describe her as outgoing, fun and kind of serious.
Lost and away from all my friends and family for the first time, I just started following my new roommates around like a sad, lost puppy. Seriously though, I still believed in “stranger danger” and had no friends. They lived with me ,so they qualified as safe. At first, we didn’t argue about trivial things like who got which bed or which desk, but anyone could clearly see that we matched up just about as well as a vegetarian being forced to guess how much meat that sweet little sheep will make when you come to class to find it dead the following week.
However, over time, we realized that we did not qualify for what one might consider a “match made in Heaven.” Thanks for paying attention to that survey, Purdue. Two months into the semester, the problems started. One of the first problems (and by far the least significant) happened to be my lack of cleanliness. Weird that I checked that box on the survey? I do not think I ever did a dish, took out the trash, put my clothes away or did any chore whatsoever. If someone asked me to, I would. Otherwise, I remained completely oblivious. At one point, Clarissa and I happened upon the topic of the questionnaire, and she said that she specified she wanted a clean roommate. I informed her that I checked messy. Great job they did at paying attention when pairing us together.
Ali and Wendy, my best friend from high school, did not attend Purdue, but they sure did attend the frat parties and stayed in our apartment frequently. They would walk into the apartment yelling and laughing at 4 a.m. every single night of the week. This is, after all, our freshmen year of college, so most students typically don’t find a problem with having roommates coming in during the middle of the night/early morning. Then you go back to that questionnaire. The one I mentioned before that the school doesn’t pay attention to? That I said also asks about your sleep schedule? Karlene took her sleep and her studying seriously. It did not go over so well when two screaming, laughing girls woke her up three hours before she had a 7 a.m. class.
Finally, we reached a tipping point. Karlene scheduled a meeting with the R.A. It accomplished nothing. I think I did do the dishes that night? The next semester Clarissa moved out to another apartment. Of all my roommates that year, she and I stayed the closest. It seems as though not living together made us better friends. We even moved in together the following year. And she’s the one who complained the most about me being messy. So to sum things up, no, we took that questionnaire for absolutely no reason. Trust me. I know at least five other people who ended up in the same situation. But in the end, I guess it is really your tolerance level of someone’s maybe not so great living habits in conjunction with their personality. Either that or I just turned out so lovable that Clarissa couldn’t stand the thought of being away from me.