When I applied for campus housing at Purdue, I almost had a heart attack. Most options were sharing a room with another student. A stranger. Possibly a loud, messy, snoring person. I considered applying for a single room, but then I thought having a roomie is part of the American experience (and it’s much cheaper).
But the thought of sharing a room with someone else was still weird to me. College roommates is not a thing in Sweden; if you don’t have your own apartment, at least you have your own room. I used to live in a dorm with eight other students. We shared one kitchen and a living room, but everyone had their own room and bathroom.
So I expected the first days at Purdue with my new roomie to be strange. But they weren’t. Even though she was a little shy in the beginning, we became friends right away. It’s amazing having an American roomie; she helps me understand the American culture, she corrects me when I make up English words (even though I try to establish them), and she brings me useful things from her parents’ home.
But having a roomie is not a fairy tale all the time. There is one teeny tiny issue I have to deal with most of the mornings: her loud, dreadful alarm clock. My roomie has a habit of pushing the snooze button over and over again. Her record is actually quite remarkable; one morning she did it for two hours. That is two hours of sleep I will never get back!
But I’m not innocent; I, too, contribute to the roomie issues. Basically every night, I wake her up by sleepwalking and/or sleeptalking. One time she woke up to find me going through our garbage, and another time running out of the room. Of course I don’t do it on purpose, but it could still be perceived as a problem to her.
What we do when an issue arises is talking about it. You shouldn’t keep it to yourself – that would only make you frustrated and sooner or later, you’ll explode. It’s better to tell your roomie the truth and try to come up with a solution. Some roomies might need rules in order to have a better relationship, but I think communication, compromising and respect are the most important things to keep both happy.
I’ve heard horror stories from my international friends about their roomies. One of them was playing computer games, talking and screaming with his online buddies all night, and another one had bags and clothes all over the floor for the whole semester (he never unpacked).
So I am super thankful for my roomie. Even though we have issues sometimes, she is my friend and family. International students should take the opportunity to learn from their American roomies; they teach us new perspectives, they keep us company, and they support us. Thank you, Cheyenne.