Smirl Meets World: Living with roommates

While I was growing up, my older sisters had both moved out of the house by the time I was four years old, so I pretty much lived as an only child. I had my own room, I usually had my parents’ undivided attention and help, and I never really had to worry about sharing my space or belongings. I realize I was extremely lucky in that regard, but part of me always wondered what it would have been like to grow up with siblings my own age and others to share my time at home with. Starting college has given me a firsthand look into that experience now, though. 

I have to admit, it was a bit of a shock when I first moved in. I went from my own room, living at home with just my parents, to sharing a living space with six other people and my bedroom with one other person. I wasn’t used to the idea of having to stagger shower times and work your morning and night schedule around another person’s. And what happens when those awkward moments pop up that you’d never really considered before? What happens when I go to take a shower for the first time and I want to listen to music, but I’m too worried they’ll judge my taste in music or hear me subconsciously sing alone? What if I have to stay up late and work on homework, but my roommate needs to sleep? I’m usually up late doing work or watching something every night of the week, how do I do that when I’m sharing a bedroom with someone else? What if I’m really upset about something, but I’m too afraid to get emotional in front of these people I just met? Before moving in, my mind was constantly filled with questions like these, and they didn’t go away for a while even after I moved in. 

Thankfully, I’ve been so lucky to be living with an entire suite full of girls that are some of the most courteous, giving and kind people I’ve ever met. I’ve discovered that they will listen to the music you play while you’re in the shower, but once you get out they’ll tell you how much they liked that one song or how much they all enjoy listening to you sing along to the words. I also know now that I still am going to be up late nearly every night doing homework, but more than half of the time my roommates will be too, and we’ll all be struggling through it together with fresh cups of coffee and constant support. There are definitely going to be (and have already been) plenty of times where you just need a good cry, and they aren’t going to judge you. They’ll come to your door with Excedrin for your headache and chocolate to help you feel better. While it can be confusing to first navigate how to decide when everyone is taking their shower and where you can go to have a phone conversation without disturbing everyone else you live with, all of these troubles end up leading to a better connection with the people you live with. I will admit, I was extremely apprehensive about living with this many people and making friends with them while still trying to be a good roommate. Yet, now I find myself looking forward to all the late nights we spend together stressing out over assignments, playing board games, and most importantly, all the times they prove to me that living with people who care about you is always better than living alone.

Rileigh Smirl can be contacted at [email protected]