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I was a senior in high school picking out where I wanted to go to college. Like any senior, this was an exciting and nerve wracking time in my life. It signaled the start of a new chapter, and changes that no one could predict. This sounds quite cliche, I agree, but nonetheless it was true. Now, I will not say exactly where I picked to go to college, but I will say it was a solid four hours away from my hometown. Once I had decided where I wanted to go and what I wanted to major in, the next step was choosing a roommate. Arguably one of the more difficult aspects of choosing a college, because you oftentimes end up living with someone who you do not know very well. Even if you choose that person, as I did, they can still end up being bat shit crazy. My selection was not 100 percent random. However, it was still random in the sense that from a limited pool of people, choosing her was my best option. Anyways, due to the fact that you live in a tiny, cramped, "no where to go" dorm room, I would advise any person going into college to choose carefully.
I was going into the summer after senior year in high school and was thrown into an accepted students Facebook page. From this, I could see other accepted students and those who needed roommates, and could message random people accordingly based upon their profiles. This teeming pool of freshly graduated students desperately looking for friends was what I had to choose from. I ended up messaging countless girls in hopes of finding a normal one, to no avail. It might be helpful to note that I am quite introverted, and thought it best I not live with a party hard, out every night, bubbly, loud person. I happened to be on Facebook one day, when I received a message from someone else.
"Hi! I am also looking for a roommate and you seem super cool, would you like to get to know one another?" Little did I know, this seemingly innocent message would be only the beginning to my countless nights without sleep and trips fuming mad out into the hallway for some fresh air.
We ended up talking over text for a few weeks, when I finally got up the courage to ask her to meet in person. She agreed, because she seemed like a reasonable human being who had manners and wanted to meet me before we started living together for a whole year. She did not have a license (first red flag). So I drug myself out of bed at 6 AM to make a round-trip, six hour drive to meet her. We went shopping at the mall, and she had an exorbitant spending habit, which I just took as her nerves and trying to impress her future roommate. This will come into play later. At the time, she seemed like a very interesting and nice enough person that was just as nervous as I to enter college.
We had both decided early on that we had similar lifestyles. We both liked the room slightly colder so we could sleep under the blankets, we both didn't party every weekend, we both wanted out of farm country and to live in the city. And honestly, that's where it stopped. At the time, we both thought it was pretty cool that we had "so much in common." In reality those are just minor aspects of ones life and you need to look much deeper than that to truly understand a person. They say that you never really know someone until you live with them. That is absolute reality and I have firsthand knowledge of that fact.
Move in day was successful for the most part she was only an hour late to our allotted time and only took up three quarters of the room with all of her things. This was another red flag that I only realized after the fact. Looking back, I can pinpoint events that should have led me to a different conclusion than the one I drew initially. The first week of orientation everyone was super nervous, including myself. She and I did most everything together, which was fine until I started making other friends. At that point, she became my shadow. A jealous shadow. I would try and leave the room and I would be met with a, "Where are you going? Can I come? Don't leave me here!" Initially this was fine, until it started escalating. She would simply follow me around, and it made myself and my other friends uncomfortable. I eventually wrote a speech and gave it to her, describing how the actions she took were not socially acceptable and detailing how to be your own person on occasion. This, surprisingly, she took well. However, she lashed out in other ways.
I started finding random objects of mine missing only to be found a few days later on her desk. Mirrors, cups, mugs, q-tips, mascara—even shirts a few times—would miraculously stand up and walk their way over to the other side of the room. When confronted, she claimed innocence. My mugs started to break, to sit with dirty water, to never be cleaned. My q-tip pile was quickly dwindling. My mirror consistently smudged. Food stashes would be full one day, half gone the next. She would never allow me to turn the heat on. If I did, she would get up and turn it off five minutes later. Her spending habit has funded a closet full of clothes that often brimmed over into mine, and she was obsessed with the way she looks. These small things may not bother someone who is best friends with their roommate as they might have a standing agreement of use between each other, but we did not. We were not best friends, and the fact that she was stealing my things was starting to get on my nerves. We signed and wrote a roommate agreement in the beginning of the year, but we only covered large issues that needed to be confronted. I did not know half of the problems I would face later.
As I got more and more fed up with her small actions, she became worse. Constantly she would be playing Netflix without headphones in, talking and yelling on the phone, leaving all of her clothes on my bed, and taking my stuff ... All to spite me. Living with someone who purposefully gets on your nerves because of some space issues is a toxic individual who needs to be cut out of your life. She would often talk about me to her friends when I was in the room, claiming no communication between us and that she did everything in the room. This is false, as she had yet to pick up the vacuum we had stored in the corner of the room. The emotional toll that this verbal manipulation took on me was devastating, as I would often lose sleep and be forced to leave the room for hours at a time. She would never admit guilt for any of her actions, which made it all the worse. I knew she did everything to spite me.
The moral of the story is please choose who you are living with wisely. While choosing a college and roommate can be a stressful time in your life, you do not want to spend the rest of the year in misery because of one small choice. Do not be afraid to speak up and tell someone that you do not want to room with them, because it can only benefit you in the long run. Living with people in such a small space with no where to go is incredibly taxing at some points. Self care is crucial at this time in your life. Keep it happy, light, and get to know people for who they really are—not for just their superficial commonalities.