Revved Up for Roommates

FILE PHOTO | THE SPECTRUM
My freshman dorm in its entire splendor. Minus about 80 more feet of string lights.

There are a few things of note on campus this year. One thing is the invasion of lanyard wearing, generic NDSU shirt toting, bookstore searching, barely out of high schoolers. If you’re in that group, another will be a stranger unloading dirty laundry and furniture that vaguely smells of cat pee about three feet from where you’ll sleep.

Now you’re wondering how to deal with this new and foreign dilemma. Well, you’ve already taken your first step towards living with another human being and whatever is already growing on their towel. You immediately ran to the nearest newspaper stand and turned The Spectrum about eight pages to my article. Not sure how you knew to do it, but were in this together now.

Now I know what you’re thinking, “How does this guy know how to deal with this tense and awkward situation. Those eyes. That beard. The raw sexual energy. He’s never been nervous in his life. How is he supposed to know what I’m going through?” Well trust me pal, we’ve all been there. I literally pulled my freshman roommate into our room. I opened it from the inside while he was unlocking it with the key on his lanyard. The lanyard was around his neck because he was a lanyard wearing, generic NDSU shirt toting, bookstore searching, barely not high schooler. And let me tell you, an awkward situation is a lot like that awkward word sandwich of a sentence. Sometimes, you’ve just gotta commit.

So I’ll share some tips from when I was a lanyard wearing, generic NDSU shirt toting, bookstore searching, barely not high schooler. First off, you’ll have the meeting with your RA. This is where you lie about what your habits are and deal with the consequences later. Mine said we went to bed at 5 a.m. and woke up at 5 a.m. Utterly worthless, which is fine. We handled things in house. Now, that isn’t to say you shouldn’t have ground rules. Things like what food is shared and borrowing things when the other is gone. This will tell you what you have to lie about when you inevitably break those rules. What they don’t know won’t hurt them, and peaceful dorm is a happy dorm.

Also on a serious note, there’s always one person who does their … business … with the other roommate there. Don’t be that guy. Just don’t. The story will spread, everyone will know and your roommate will never look you in the eye again. Neither of you will come out of that situation the same person who came in. It changes you fundamentally, which might be good because there is something fundamentally wrong there. Also, your RA’s can smell it and that’s just all around uncomfortable. It’s not pleasant to talk about but there it is.

You will also need to invest some capital. Febreeze in every scent and applied regularly as per your particular stench is a must. Box fans will help you survive the nights without AC and you’ll need to get detergent strong enough to kill whatever is growing on your roommate’s towel. Which brings me to my next point: Some people prefer to take things into their own hands. Is your roommate messy? You clean. His clothes smell? You Febreeze. You don’t like his chair? You slowly file down the leg until it breaks under his weight. The fact of the matter is, this is your life. You’re in college now and you’ll find you’re a more independent person than you ever imagined. You are the one who handles your problems and, even if it’s not full-blown adulthood, you’ll become damn proud of that.

I mean I didn’t do any of that last stuff, but whatever, right?

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