>>> The Rollercoaster of Drama
By staff writer Simonne Cullen
June 20, 2004

At the movie theater the other day I asked for the student discount as usual and the nice, acneous male face behind the glass flirtatiously asked what year I was. I told him I was a senior. “Me too! I can't wait 'til homecoming,” he said. “In college,” I responded. “You're too old for me. Here are your tickets, enjoy the show.”

As I sat there enduring 30 minutes of previews, one of those damn life realizations hit me. (Why they always come during movie trailers, I will never know.) The fact that I am a senior in college scares the hell out of me. Next year is going to be filled with parties, auditioning for grad schools, and living with three crazy sorority sisters. And maybe if I'm feeling academic, a class or two. But as I sat reflecting during the fifth Spiderman 2 trailer I realized that I have learned so much about college the hard, but humorous way that I should share it with incoming freshman to let them know what they're in for. To review the mistakes I made, so that they can read this, ignore me, and make the same mistakes themselves. I've never felt more adult in my life.

The best place to start is with the relationship between you and your roommate. Once you have selected your school of choice there comes a plethora official forms in the mail for you. Some forms are surveys to help the overworked and underpaid admissions officer figure out which two people, if they were gay, would make the best homosexual couple. Others are disguised as surveys, but are actually forms already asking for donations to the alumni foundation. Ignore these. Forever.

Questions about your roommate will arise and continue to twist and turn your stomach all summer long. For guys the questions floating around are, “I wonder if his TV is bigger than mine and has better graphics on PlayStation 2?” Or “Should we have two fridges? One to store the beer and one for the food?” And finally, “I wonder if he'll be strong enough to carry a keg up five flights of stairs with me? And he better have a car.”

Girls as usually are WAY more complicated comparatively. Guys think in the short term. Girls think straight through to graduation. The most common questions are, “What if she's a complete nerd who won't be able to party with me?” Because god knows unless you go to a state school where you know somebody from high school you're roommate is you're new best friend for the first two weeks. Only to be replaced shortly by your newer best friend, the girl who lives two doors down, who will then be replaced by your newest best friend, the girl you bonded with at the frat party in the bathroom. Freshman year you're going to have about 72 different best friends and at least one backstabbing bitch to deal with. Just hope the backstabbing bitch isn't your roommate.

Other questions girls ask are, “I wonder if she's the same size as me so we can double our wardrobe?” Quickly followed by, “Wait, what if she's more petite than me and I feel miserably fat next to her….” Which is immediately followed by, “Is she monstrously fat?” “Does she go tanning? Or does she apply self tanner sloppily and I am going to be seen with orange streak girl in the dinning hall?” “Does she have a higher GPA and ACT score than me?” “Does she have a really expensive hair straightener I could borrow?” As you can see we're just as superficial as boys, just on a more intense level.

Being an only child I specifically requested that I be roomed with another only child. That way we'd both come in with the same notions that sharing is out and top-of-the-line college dorm products are in. Not once did it ever cross my mind (cluttered with visions of DVD collections, TV/VCRs, Clinique makeup, Abercombie clothes, and 700-thread count Ralph Lauren bed sheets) that someone would actually bring a Shaper Image humidifier to college for fun. But I suppose if I could go back in time, I would specifically request a roommate with a car that she would let me use as my own.

No matter what you say in the beginning of the year you and your roommate are going to fight. It may be over something small and petty like taking out the garbage or bigger issues like her kicking you out of your room every night so she can cuddle with her new boyfriend. Either way it's always nice to keep a bottle of Nair handy to replace her shampoo bottle with. Just throwing that suggestion out there, you do what you want with it.

By sophomore year most people have established a solid group of friends and have the ability to go out into the community and get their own apartment. Small schools usually don't have that luxury and everyone must live on campus all four or five years. So if by the end of your freshman year you find yourself in a single, there are only two reasons for that. One, you wanted it and got lucky, and two, you couldn't find anyone to live with you because you're not exactly favored by your peers and are probably the most difficult, mind-numbing, STD-smelly, obnoxious, dumb box of cock rocks anyone has ever met. Let's hope you're lucky.

Eventually, as you progress up the exalted ladder of seniority, you'll get the opportunity to room in quads or suites. During junior year my friend Michele and I decided to ask two guys to live with us in a quad. Justifying living with two guys to my mom and my boyfriend at the time was just about the closest to any type of litigation I'll ever be involved in. (Dad didn't know I was living with guys until Mom let it slip the week before finals last semester.) Unwilling to deal with any sort of extenuated reasoning, I just chalked the whole experience up to “adventure.” And an adventure it certainly was.

Living with guys is always difficult, especially on a small campus. The incessant jokes about hooking up with each other gets really old after the first week, but will never go out of style to everyone else. But that's just the first layer of difficulties one runs into while rooming with guys—the first layer of a 7-layered cake that rots and molds until someone finally gets so fed up with the ant problem that they throw it away.

Boys don't clean. I knew this going in, but I had known these two guys for the past two years and they were the cleanest frat boys I'd ever met. Did I just say frat boys and clean in the same sentence? A year ago this time I was severely delusional thinking that they would actually tidy up the room. But guys in general don't clean and are content living in the equivalent of a solid waste dump with a recycling department that consists of empty beer cans overflowing the trash bin in the corner.

Knowing that they will read this I guess it's only fair to say that they both did clean once. The day before their out-of-town girlfriends came to stay for a weekend they armed themselves with Windex, Lysol, and a vacuum cleaner. It was awkward to watch them use these products. The placement of the fingers on cleaning bottles is normally difficult for first-timers. Either way, we took pictures, and we're sending them to their mother's as evidence that they do have the ability to make a room look immaculate.

That's not to say that guys living with girls in general wouldn't have a counter-argument. They may have clothes and beer cans scattered about the place, but girls tear up a bathroom no matter what. Guys can come out of the shower and find at least one of our hairs on every item in the bathroom plus their own body (by no intentional means), or a feminine product poking out of at least every other drawer.

So basically I guess it's one of those give and take situations. The type where we all give each other something to complain about, and take out the garbage when the fungus has evolved to the point where it's mobile. That is symbiotic, right?