Confusion Corner: the roommates from Dante’s fifth circle of hell

We have all heard them — roommate horror stories. Potentially worse than the campfire stories you refused to listen to as a kid, these stories can chill even the coldest of people to the bone. They range from insignificant to explosive, and a large percentage of the college population has them.

Most of us have been lucky enough to escape the bad roommate. We all have minor “incidents” with our roommates, which is natural when living with another person. More common with the randomly assigned roommates we live with freshman year, these stories usually stem from a set of annoying habits the other person has. While you may be clean, they are messy. They clip their nails so loudly that they wake you up. They never throw out the garbage. They are always FaceTime-ing their long-distance significant other when you get back to the room after Swemming all night. They have apparently never heard of headphones. You like to sleep in, they get up early — and, without fail, they leave the lights on. How fantastic! Who needs sleep anyway?!

These seemingly inconsequential habits build up over time and suddenly you feel like you’re ready to explode. But, miraculously, you don’t. Instead, you roll with the punches, look over these small annoyances, and attempt to get on as well as possible with your roommate for the sake of not seeming like a total jerk.

Then there are the roommates from hell — the real, “I’m-going-to-actually-die” horror stories. They come in many different forms. It could be the roommate who goes way too hard for your taste or the roommate who doesn’t approve of your seemingly commonplace drinking activities (and won’t let you forget it, of course). Perhaps it’s the roommate who is in the room at all hours of the day. Or worse, the “extra roommate” — aka your roommate’s significant other — who’s always, without fail, in the room hanging out on the futon. We’ve all heard of these types, and some of us have had the unfortunate experience of living with them. There really isn’t much you can do when put in these uncomfortable situations, except try your best to work through them.

But fear not, there’s a good side to these stories, too. These experiences shape us into better people. You have to learn to live with someone, which, in turn, makes you more patient and easier to live with. It also serves as a reminder that we aren’t perfect. For every annoying habit your roommate has, you most likely have one — or more — habits that they also have to put up with. So for anyone struggling with roommate issues, whether they’re a string of small annoyances or a truly insufferable situation, think of it as a part of your college education. You could even consider it an honorary GER, but with more practical benefits. And just remember, with time these stories will turn from horrifying to hilarious — or at least mildly entertaining.

Sky Sprayberry is a Confusion Corner columnist who dearly loves her current roommate, despite her early morning nail-clipping sessions.


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