College x

It was after one of the living room orgies that I learned rules can help people with differences get along.

How You Can Learn to Love Your Extended Roommates

Currently, I’m lucky enough to live in a spacious one-bedroom apartment with my boyfriend, our dog and two cats. But that wasn’t always the case. The first year I moved away from home and began my college education at UTSA, I lived in a tiny, crappy four-bedroom apartment with two other girls, Roommate A and Roommate B, (the third was wise enough to never move in). While we didn’t have a fourth roommate and an extra bedroom, it was never empty.

Besides the uncomfortably thin walls and crumbly furniture, there was also the daily struggle of cohabitating with two complete strangers who were considerably different from myself. There was constant conflict over the pile of dishes in the sink, fights over leaving the front door unlocked and nearly bloody battles about the overall cleanliness of the apartment.

How You Can Learn to Love Your Extended Roommates

And only a girl who has had to share a bathroom with multiple other girls will understand the agony of trying to get in a decent shower at a convenient time.

As if that weren’t enough, I had no choice but to also deal with the friends and boyfriends of these girls I could hardly stand to be around 90 percent of the time. Not that I think they saw my cat and I as the brightest rays of sunshine either. Although, my own boyfriend did prefer to stay out of the craziness and in his own apartment.

Just to make it clear that I’m not being dramatic, here are a few examples of the situations I had thrust upon me.

I once came home at three o’ clock in the afternoon after class to Roommate B having an orgy on the living room floor with a couple neighbors and her ex-boyfriend. Said ex-boyfriend then stayed over for a few days and spent the majority of the time completely nude.

Roommate A, on numerous occasions, would invite a ridiculous number of people over to our itty, bitty apartment to get totally plastered. After they were all completely drunk, usually around four or five in the morning, someone would break something or spill alcohol all over something.

At that point, Roommate A would decide to very dramatically, loudly and sometimes violently kick everyone out—sometimes not until the cops were called. Believe it or not, this totally avoidable situation actually happened quite a lot. And, of course, both roommates A and B would continuously butt heads over every little thing possible—putting me in the middle and filling the apartment with tons of tension.

Besides seeing a completely unnecessary amount of Roommate B’s pierced nipples and feeling constantly mothered by Roommate A, I was also forced to deal with their inebriated pals and significant others, if they can be called that, on a day to day basis.

It may seem easy to just speak up (I tried), but it’s pretty difficult to tell someone else what they may or may not do in their own home—along with who they can have over and what they may do as well. On the other hand, it was my home as well (a place I didn’t really want so many naked/non-sober people), and it got very complicated at times as to what the right thing to do was.

At the same time, my boyfriend’s roommate had no choice but to deal with me spending a vast amount of time at their place in an attempt to avoid sloppy drunks and smelly living room sex.

It’s not really fair most of the time, but that’s just the way it is. My roommate’s friends drove me crazy and I drove my boyfriend’s roommate crazy. It’s a vicious, vicious circle, my friends.

Moving in with new people is never simply sharing a space—it’s sharing lives.

You can fight and resist it all you please, but in the end, it’s inevitable. In sharing the same living space, your lives unavoidably become intertwined—along with the lives of the people they choose to also bring into the big, messy mix. And trust me, it can get very, very messy.

While it can be annoying, and sometimes even downright infuriating, it can also be beautiful.

My first year of college was pretty crazy, but I can definitely say it was never boring. I met so many incredible people, and while I may not have stayed in close contact with many of them, they’re people that shaped the first year of my life on my own. They’re people I will never forget. They’re people who helped me clumsily figure out a lot about myself and who I want to be.

And while I had no choice but to live (and deal) with two very outspoken young women, I did choose to see the best in them. They were both incredibly talented artists (one even dipped my poor cat in red paint for a project and ruined our sofa), they were both strong, they were both independent and they were each their own very unique person. Now, I have a life-long friend in one (we get along way better now that we don’t live together) and keep in contact through social media with the other.

Sure, it wasn’t always easy, but I also learned to love my extended roommates as well. They were friends, neighbors and friends of the neighbors. They were crazy, loud and sometimes inconsiderate. There were barbecues, pool parties, large group outings and nights that got way out of control.

My little apartment was always full—of alcohol, laughs, anger, love, resentment and most importantly, friends.

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