In my earlier entry I told the tale of extra roommates in the Finnish student housing. Needless to say that living experience ended pretty soon and I wasn't keen on ever sharing a flat like that. When I first came to the U.S, I was an exchange student, and my accommodation was organized for me. I faced the reality that I would have to not only share a flat, but also share a room with someone else. I was told I'd be living in a dorm room on-campus and I'd share that room with a fellow student. I emailed with the university housing and asked to have an older roommate, maybe a senior or something. Well, that backfired.
My first roommate in the U.S was a German exchange student T. She had arrived first to the dorm and got to pick which side of the room was hers, which matress, which furniture she'd use etc. That was fine with me, I was okay with my side. We didn't live in a huge traditional residence hall, ours was a smaller one. Our dorm was "suite" style, where three rooms (6 girls or boys) share a bathroom together. I think there were four of these suites on each floor. The building housed 44 students and had one student Resident Advisor (RA) to run things. This part of the campus had 4 other similar buildings and one bigger dorm building, so there were a bunch of students living there. There was a bus connection to the main campus, so we didn't have to walk, but I often did since it took only 15mins and I appreciated the exercise after eating school cafeteria foods every day :)
Our residence Hall
Our room had a bed, a dresser and a desk with a chair for each resident and a small bookcase. The bed had a "leak proof" mattress, which needless to say was not very comfortable. Most of us got mattress pads to improve sleep quality. The rooms had locks, and we kept ours locked during the nights and obviously whenever we were not there. I never heard anything got stolen from the rooms, so I assume everyone else kept their doors locked as well. There was a community kitchen with a fridge, where people did steal food from, so no one really used it, except us poor international students, who didn't want to invest in a fridge. There was also a tv with a couple of channels and couches etc. I don't remember anyone using the community space much. I think we mostly used the microwave to make popcorn.
I found myself liking living in the dorms, I loved the social atmosphere. As for my German roommate T, well, she didn't know she was going to have to share a room and was very unhappy when she received the email saying I'd be her roommate. Although in the beginning we got a long just fine, I soon started to annoy her big time. I talked too much she said and wasn't interested in her life enough. Now, I admit that I wasn't too interested in her nephews, but I did listen to everything she said. Apparently I didn't ask her enough questions about her life... She was upset at almost everything I did. When one of my American friends let me borrow his tv and we brought it to our room, she got upset and said it would bother her. Well, the tv stayed, and she watched it all the time. She didn't like my male friends hanging out in our room, she didn't understand why I wanted to hang out with the Americans in general. She said I was ruining her English skills with my "made-up" words (I never understood what this meant). She said my reading light bothered her in the evenings and told me to go and read in the hallway. One time I gathered courage and told her it was my room too and she yelled at me how selfish I was. I think you get the picture what it was like with her :) Luckily she was there for a semester only. After she left I became friends with the other girls in our suite, who hadn't really talked to me all semester, partly because my German roommate T had complained about them to the RA and they wanted nothing to do with either of us as a result. They had a not-so-nice nickname for her, and I had no idea how much they had disliked us both due to T's behavior. I'm glad we got that sorted out and became friends, after T left.
After T's departure, I asked for a local roommate, since I seemed to have more in common with the American students anyways. My second roommate, P, was a freshman who had just turned 18 and had started college in the middle of the year. She was such a sweetheart, I felt so lucky to have her after the fiasco with the German girl. She was super relaxed and before she moved in we emailed about what she'd like to bring to the room and if it would be okay with me. She seemed really excited to live in the dorms, as I had been before my German roommate came along. P brought a fridge, since I already had the tv, and said I could use it as much as I like. We didn't end up being best friends (she felt more like a little sister), but I really liked living with her. For example, I'm not really the kind of person that likes to hug people, but when she was crying in our room after her boyfriend had been an ass, I hugged her. We went shopping together, to the gym and made jello shots :) She was pledging at one of the sororities, so I got to follow her pledging process, which was really interesting! I so wish she'd been my roommate for the whole year and I cursed myself for asking an older roommate.
On the whole, I really enjoyed living in the dorm. If I got bored, I had plenty of people to visit and there was always something to do. Everyone was really relaxed and offered to let you borrow their books, dvds, games and whatnot. On the downside, you couldn't really get away from them either, and everyone was really gossip-y :) And for a non-drug user, living with a bunch of potheads gets a bit old sooner than later. I swear the whole building was sometimes covered in smoke, and it was weird seeing these kids (since that's what they were) dropping acid... I often wondered if their parents knew what they were doing. I guess some did, since a couple of them got picked up by their parents and sent to rehab. After they returned to school, they went right back to their old lifestyle. I have to admit I was pretty naive about drug use before I moved to the U.S and suddenly I saw people use drugs really openly, which was a bit of a shock. More than once I got asked if I smoke and when I said no, I got a surprised look. Once a guy looked at me blankly and asked "why did you come to this school then?". Even though I was not a user, I learned quickly who was selling what and where, it was that obvious. Watching those red eyed kids made me so sad, they had so much money and opportunities, but lacked real substance (no pun intended) and direction in life. Such a waste. Needless to say my son won't be going to this particular college, although I'm sure many of the area colleges are alike. Not all U.S colleges are like that though, I'm happy to say.
Next week I'm moving off-campus :)
Happy Father's Day to everyone who celebrates it today!