Unfortunately, my daughter and her college roommate got a divorce. I was sorry it happened, but not too surprised.
In the middle of moving practically every blessed thing my mini-me owns into that tiny dorm room back in August, Ashley, the roommate, called her from the road and asked point blank if she snored. ("Ummm...I don't think so.") That was, perhaps, the first clue that there might be problems ahead.
The second clue was that Paige never talked about Ashley, and I never saw any pictures of the two girls together on Facebook. Plenty of photos of Paige with her friends, but none with Ashley. Concerned, I asked if they were getting along. She assured me they were, but they didn't hang out because of their separate interests and social circles. I thought it was a little weird, but since she wasn't complaining, I decided that maybe it was a good thing, that their diverse interests kept them out of each other's hair.
Almost as soon as Paige stepped foot back on the Tech campus after the Thanksgiving break, she texted to say that she was making arrangements to move in with a high school girlfriend several floors up. When I inquired about Ashley, she admitted they had had a huge blowup and whatever ties had been there were now completely and irreparably severed. I won't go into the sordid details, but no doubt things had been simmering between them for some time. I suggested to my daughter that she take the high road and try to smooth things over, but she wasn't about to do that, and besides, Ashley was messy. I had a really good chuckle over that and pointed out that she was no slouch herself in the messy department, but Paige insisted Ashley was much worse. Of course.
The news that she was moving in with her high school friend unsettled me a bit. She has known Caroline since kindergarten and the two of them are very close. It has been my experience, both personal and otherwise, that really good friends sometimes make rotten roommates. I'm no psychologist, but I believe strangers will cut each other far more slack in an effort to make the relationship work. Friends, on the other hand, sometimes expect too much and wind up disappointed. At least that's my take on it.
My high school best friend, Marian, and I roomed together for one week, ONE WEEK, and were nearly at each other's throats before it was over. This was at a debate camp we attended at Stephen F. Austin State University the summer before our sophomore year. (Yes, I was a nerd.) The high school speech and debate coach thought we'd make a good debate team and to test this asinine theory, threw us into a debate tournament at the end of the school year. This was a daunting prospect because 1) neither of us had any debate experience, 2) we knew nothing about the topic (as I recall, it had something to do with welfare) and, 3) we would be competing against teams that had spent months studying and debating this topic and knew every statistic and argument by heart. This had FAIL written all over it, but to everyone's surprise, we won. We swept the tournament to a first place finish with nothing more than some hasty research, some borrowed notes, and a lot of chutzpah or, as I prefer to put it: if you can't dazzle 'em with brilliance, baffle 'em with bullsheet. And that was how, a couple of months later, we ended up in a small dorm room at SFA ready to kill each other. It is a testament to the strength of our friendship that we didn't let this dual moment of insanity ruin it. We got past it, and before too long, we were able to laugh about it, but I know in my heart that what really saved us was the fact that it was only one week. Another week, even a couple of days, and somebody probably would have wound up dead. More than likely me, because Marian was the bigger of the two of us.
Part of the college experience, besides the endless frat parties and occasional studying, is learning to get along with your roommate. I had my share of the truly wonderful and the downright awful, and while it is no fun to live with someone you loathe, as I tell my kids, what doesn't kill you, just makes you stronger.
Get notified of new content! Enter your email address in the space below to get started...