My First Roommate Taught Me To Be A Better Communicator

For most students entering college right after high school, the prospect of living away from home and exploring the newfound freedom of dorm life is both a blessing and a curse. Your parents no longer have the same level of control over you as before, but chances are you'd feel isolated at first, especially when new almost-impenetrable cliques form almost instantly. I felt that way when my parents dropped me off at Lafayette College for a summer program organized by Johns Hopkins University's Center for Talented Youth (CTY) program before high school started and I experienced my first dorm experience that would eventually define how I handle conflict.

At the start of the program, my roommate and I got to an awkward start and exchanged basic information, such as where we were from, what class we would be taking, and what hobbies piqued our interest. I learned that he was taking the same anatomy and physiology class I was, he was from Houston, and he loved playing soccer. Unfortunately, that first day was the end of cordialities and the beginning for irreconcilable differences.

For some reason, he became increasingly snarky to me on his off-days, making it increasingly difficult for me to try reaching out and being his friend. I was most likely extremely annoying at first and while I do regret anything offensive or questionable that I have said, he could have at least talked it out with me. It also didn't help that he broke my tablet after I let him play on it for one night and placed a similarly colored and shaped toothbrush into my caddy when I went to use the bathroom, only to accidentally use his brush. I guess the huge issue between us was that our mutual communication was impaired on both ends.

I made it a point in the future to be cordial with future roommates and being clearer with them. As my parents taught me, assumptions without communication always lead to disaster. My future roommates and I in future summer programs and my first year of college had little to no conflict after that because we managed to communicate every little grievance so that everyone was on the same page. I'll make it a point to keep up this level of communication with my future roommate when I eventually enter my sophomore year.

So to my first roommate, thank you. You did make me feel miserable at some point, but thanks to you, I can better voice my concerns to avoid facing this issue again.

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