>>> The Rollercoaster of Drama
By staff writer Simonne Cullen
June 25, 2006

Going back to school and filling out all those forms, well, I feel as if I’ve been here before. There are two types of people: The first type is brutally honest about who they are and realizes that even though they’d like to change, they never will. The second type lies about their roommate preference because they want to become somebody else. They hope that if they can room with someone who has the influential qualities of the person they desire, the liar can make the transition from homebody to whore with as little difficultly as possible.

The point freshies: Don’t lie on your roommate partiality. If you go to bed before midnight every night, do you really want someone to come barging in around 3am using his outside voice to order a pizza while waving his penis from the window at the upperclassmen girls waking home from the bar? No.

Super Troopers is the greatest movie ever, but if you’re a homebody, would you really want to spend two semesters living with Thorny and Rabbit? Stay in your cozy single, and let the crazies stay in the frat quad where they belong. I address this issue now because last week I filled out a three-question survey that determines who you are, and who might be the best person for you to room with. I filled it out honestly because you never know when it’s going to come back and bite you in the ass.

“Just because you don’t drink beer doesn’t mean you’re not going to gain the freshman fifteen by way of low carb Bacardi and Diet Coke.”

For instance, true story: No matter where we are or what kind of company we’re in, my roommate Meghan from freshman year loves to tell this one story about how I passed out in the hallway in the front of our room with my keys still in the door. Everyone laughs and thinks I’m some huge Black-Out Queen, when in reality if she hadn’t locked the door when she fell asleep at 10pm that night with her headphones on, and had gone out with me instead, I’m sure that together we could have formulated a plan to unbolt the locked door. Because waking up with a door off its hinges would have made a much better story to tell at summer gatherings than the one where she embellishes the amount of drool I was laying in the morning she found me.

This fall I will be living with three girls of varying ages. In the index card sized space where I was told to describe myself I wrote, “I am going to need at least one of the girls, if not all, to be of legal drinking age, able to quote Family Guy, Anchorman, and Shaun of the Dead verbatim, and to watch Grey’s Anatomy religiously. Those who like describing the latest news in their consistent dramatic love life need not apply.”

Like most graduated high school seniors, I don’t know what to expect and am overly anxious about meeting my new roommates. Already having gone through four years of living with eight different people, these new roomies have some pretty big shoes to fill. And all I can hope for is that, unlike the guys junior year, their shoes don’t make the entire apartment smell like dead raccoons.

Some schools give you your roommate’s information in advance. Hopefully they live nearby and you can get a feel for their personality ahead of time by getting together. But if they live in a different state, well, that first phone call would be pretty awkward. Girls have a two-hour conversation covering their entire love life history followed by a series of the utmost important questions like, “What kind of clothes they wear? Do they plan on going Greek? What color tapestries are they bringing? What color hair do they have? And who’s bringing the fridge, the George Foreman grill, the nightlight, the dust buster, and the Dirty Dancing special edition DVD?” Guys, on the other hand just call up say, “You got an X-box 360? Word. I’ll bring the John Belushi “College” poster. See you in a month.”

Single girls, I think that if you really want to meet guys the best investment you can make is in a Playstation or X-Box. Seriously, guys have a hard time interacting with new people, especially girls—best to create an environment they’re comfortable in by having video games at the ready. After two weeks I guarantee you’ll be known around the dorm as “Sara and Ellie’s room, the chicks with PS2.” Guys will bring their new guy friends, who will bring over the soccer team, and by the end you’ll have a smorgasbord of young college men to choose from. But only choose one—as hard as it is, you do not want to sample the entire buffet. Take my advice, because at the end of the semester you’ll probably rather be known as “the girls who kick ass at Mario Kart” than some sexually disturbing nickname like “the Pepperoni Tits Twins.”

Right now I have to take the minimalist approach to packing. Everything that I need to bring has to fit in my little SUV. Note that I said, need to bring, not want to bring. Freshman year of college I think everyone tries to bring everything they own, as if they need to show off just how much they’ve collected over the years. Between the both of us, Meg and I brought over 200 videos and DVDs our freshman year. 30 of those went missing or stolen. The next year we brought our 10 favorites and resorted to borrowing from everyone else who hadn’t realized that college is the cheapest version of Blockbuster ever.

One thing I can’t comprehend though is that I’ve had the same movie stolen from me from me every single year of college—and that movie my friends, is The Cutting Edge. You know, the one with the bitchy figure skater who gets paired together with a half blind hockey player and together they win the pairs figure skating at the Olympics? It’s a classic to any girl born after 1980, and all my girlfriends own it. So who’s stealing it? I’m putting my money on four hockey players out there who hide it along with their porn to avoid any unsettling questions about his ownership of said movie. I know that two of you know who you are.

Anyway, the minimalist approach is not going well. When college was a mere three hours away my parents would volunteer to bring the fridge and the TV; now that the trip’s journey clocks out at about 96 hours, it’s been made very clear that I’m on my own. If I want to bring the TV I can, but I’ll have to go to class naked because there’d be no room for my wardrobe. I have managed to discover the most incredible invention though: the space saver bags. You can stuff an entire season worth of clothes, sheets, comforter, pillow, and small toddler into the bag, suck the air out with a vacuum and poof! It gets so small that it can potentially fit in your glove compartment. Which mean there’s room for either three pairs of shoes, eight DVD’s, or three bottles of Febreze. All have the same amount of importance. Especially those Febreze products.

Has anyone had that girl roommate who brings a ridiculous amount of stuffed animals with her to college? Worse than that, they’re all named and arranged on her bed every morning according to height and status among the stuffed animal community? I’ve witnessed it, and frankly you don’t know how to react to it. My girlfriend’s roommate from U of I freshman year had thirty stuffed animals just hanging out on her bed when I first met her.

Guys have some odd behaviors too. Like saving all their empty beer cans to make trophies by gluing them together and then creating pyramids or statues of themselves. At least they don’t name every can they use. We all have our comfort blankets, but having Minnie, Mickey, Inky, Binky, Softy, Scooter, Cubies, Cupies, Hannah, Nanners, Nicki, Poofy, Winnie, and Stan surrounding you as you sleep every night…well, don’t expect to go any further socially than the tea parties you have with them after your 11am class.

Right now my younger cousin is spending her first year of college at U of I this fall. She’s collected some good advice from her older siblings, and she’s gotten some profound advice from me by reading these columns. But the one suggestion she’s not taking is bringing her car down to college with her. I don’t care what city you’re in, or how amazing the public transportation is, you need a car (the only exception to this rule is NYC).

I make the car statement because Appleton used to brag about it’s stellar public transportation system, but trust me, waiting at a bus stop for an hour and a half to get to the mall half an hour before it closes is not transportation efficiency. U of I has a great bus system that can get you from class to class and bar to bar, but does it have one that can get you to the water park? No. Does it have one that will take you on a midnight Wal-Mart run? No. Does it have one that takes you home to see your family when your fed up with your friend, passing your exit on the expressway, and taking you directly into Chicago instead of stopping, only for you to take the Metra back to suburbia, and finally arrive five and a half hours later at your town’s train station? Well then you’re in luck. They have to do that.

Parking also sucks, but it’s not that bad when it comes down to it (again, unless you’re in NYC, where the only cars are taxis and Towncars owned by the significantly wealthy). But seriously, I can’t stress this enough: You need a car. And Viv, the only reason your brother is trying to convince you not to take it is because he wants to use it while you’re gone. Just so you know.

Ever watch that show Felicity? You know the one where the girl follows the boy she’s secretly in love with to college and by the end of the season she cuts all of her long curly hair off? Not sure what exactly happened to her after that. Not sure anyone knows what happened to her after she chopped of her locks, but I think that all women will agree with me when I say that doing anything incredibly drastic to your outer appearance is not cool. Just because the sorority you want to join is all blonde doesn’t mean you need to run out and stock up on peroxide. Just because you’re boyfriend is addicted to porn doesn’t mean you have to get long acrylic fingernails either. And just because you don’t drink beer doesn’t mean you’re not going to gain the freshman fifteen by way of low carb Bacardi and Diet Coke.

Who is still drinking Zima? Do they still make that shit? I remember sneaking one out of the fridge in 8th grade when it was being promoted by Dennis Miller. It tasted like 7-Up and seltzer. Yuck. But it makes me wonder, do you think that’s how current 8th graders are going to feel about Pimp Juice when they enter college?

Ladies, there will come a time before you move when your parents will ask you if you need protection. Tread lightly here seeing as it is uncharted territory. If your dad asks you, he means, “Do you need mace? A pocket knife? A tazer gun?” If your mom asks you, she means the other kind of protection. And again, brace yourself…this is a test of how well you know your mother. Is she the type that wants to hear you say no even though she knows you’re smart enough to go to health services? Or is she the type that is nonchalant enough for you to say yes and write the twenty dollars a month off as a “no unexpected baby” expense?

Guys, if you dad asks you if you need protection, all you have to say is, “No worries pop. I’ve got that covered. No pun intended.” Anything else and you better have gotten a scholarship to college or you’ll be a severe disappointment. Oh and don’t worry, your mom willnever ask you that question gentlemen. She’d rather believe that you’re a virgin ‘til marriage than ever bring up the prophylactic conversation. Trust me. Junior year my roommate’s mom found condoms in his underwear drawer while she was tidying up and, well, she pulled them out in front of everyone. Attempting to cover his grandmother’s eyes was easily one of the most awkward moments of my life. Makes that toddler who’s still locked in my glove compartment look pretty insignificant now doesn’t it?