Sharing a space with someone became my new normal, now I have to transition back to living alone.
Growing up as an only child, I always had my own space and what was mine was mine. That's not saying I can't share, but I am more territorial over what I own that person who was raised with siblings, like my first roommate. Luckily, my roommate and I were always respectful of each other's boundaries. I'm fortunate to have had the experience of sharing space for the first time with someone who's respectful and that I could call a friend for a time. Now, she is in the process of moving back home and will be transferring schools, and I'll be living on my own again, so I wanted to take a look back at my time living with another person.
My roommate is leaving campus and moving back home to take care of herself. Being away from home has taken a toll on her, and she never was able to quite find her place at this university. I know she was never really happy here but, for a time, my friends and I all thought we could make her experience worthwhile and even convince her to stay. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. Since then, my roommate and I have had a falling out spurred by disagreements and miscommunication. Despite that, she was still like a dream roommate my first semester, and I have a lot of fond memories of my start to college because of her.
I've heard so many roommate horror stories in college where roommates would violate boundaries and wouldn't get along or even talk. I was determined to not be in a position like that. My roommate and I hit it off the day we moved in. We initially bonded over our experiences in high school theater, and we realized we had a lot of the same favorite plays. From there, we began getting to know each other by having conversations about the posters we hung up on our respective walls.
It turned out that we both were too nervous to go places alone, so we began to do most everything together. We walked around the campus together, finding the buildings our classes were in. We went to our dining hall together for lunches and dinners. We became pretty close actually, closer than I expected to get with my roommate, especially that soon. Once classes started, we each found our rhythms and had pretty different schedules, but we would always catch up over meals and during our late night talks from our beds. We found the same friend group early on and the semester consisted of late-night antics and daily lunch dates with our new friends. My favorite memories are the ones of our delusion-filled late nights running around the dorm or going on late night milk-runs.
It wasn't always fun to have a roommate though. The biggest challenge for me is not having my own space when I wanted to be alone. I remember one time, a month or so into school, I had had a long, tiring day, and I just wanted to lay in my bean bag in my room and decompress. Instead, I walked in, and my roommate had a friend over. I ended up going elsewhere with one of my other friends, and I vented to her about how frustrating it is not to have my own space. I got used to being alone my last two years of high school. My parents both worked full-time jobs, so I was accustomed to being home alone for several hours each day and sometimes for whole days over the summer. I've found in college that I'm constantly around people. Even though my roommate and I were good about doing our things in the room and we wouldn't always talk, it was still an adjustment to get used to someone always being there.
I have gotten very used to someone always being around. I found as the semester progressed, it was exciting to have someone I could talk to as soon as I got back from my classes. If I saw something funny on my phone or something bizarre happened late at night that needed to be told immediately, I could tell her. It's interesting to me that now I have to go through another adjustment period where I get used to not having someone who's always there that I can talk to or hang out within the room.
I'm fortunate to have had a respectful roommate to learn about sharing a space, and she made the transition pretty easy for me. I also found a good friend in her for a time, and we had a lot of surreal but great late night roommate adventures that have given me enough funny stories and memories to last a lifetime.
I've learned from this how quickly my "normal" can change in life. Being alone was my normal for so long yet in a matter of two months, sharing a small space with another person became my new normal. When I had 8 am classes last semester; I learned how to get ready as quietly as possible so that I wouldn't wake her up. I got used to living life not just according to me but also considering that there's another person I'm sharing my space with. I'm excited about my transition back to living in my area that's just for me, but I will miss the company of a roommate.