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Opinion

Dorm life poses special challenges for only child

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September 28, 2007

Here I am, finally in college. I am a freshman this year and as an only child I am learning rather quickly how different life can be when you have people around you 24-7.

I can imagine we all, for the most part, had the same idea of what life would be like here. The homework load would definitely increase, we would probably do much more walking than we’re used to and eating Ramen noodles every other day would become a force of habit.

On the other hand, each and every one of us had our own personal thoughts on what living with another person everyday for the next nine months would be like.  I, for one, was very excited. I had met my roommate on Facebook; she seemed really nice and we got along well.

Within a couple of weeks we had requested each other as roommates and started making plans for our room. This really put a qualitative reality on my idea of dorm life.  Now I actually knew the person I would be with and the “what’s mine is yours” thing started to kick in.

Move-in day came and went in a flash. I was finally on my own. The first week went by and like my roommate and I had planned, every second was spent together. It was awesome; she was like the sister I never had and this whole thing was a sleepover that never ends.  Being in the same Weeks Of Welcome group, our schedules were the same for the first few days. We got up together, ate together, spent our day together, and to end it, showered at the same time (but in separate stalls). This was all fine until about day 10, when reality set in.

If you ask any only child what they love best about being an only child, they will probably tell you, the alone time. However, in all those flyers the school sent out, they failed to mention that the alone time would be deleted from our lives.

By day 11, I was starting to lose it. I really was not used to this community goods idea. To put it figuratively, I went from a strong capitalist society where I didn’t have to share a thing to a heavy socialist community where it’s all for one and one for all. I was finding myself muttering little messages like, “Hey that’s my Easy Mac,” and “Gosh, I’m dying of sweat over here, why can’t we just have the window open.”

Little by little I could tell this was going to drive me nuts; the lights were on when I wanted it dark and the T.V. was on when I wanted quiet.

Now we’re on week four and I really consider myself very lucky to have a roommate that I can talk out my problems with. We have definitely had our “sharing of words,” but we found a way to get through it.

To all the only children here at UWRF, I feel your pain, and all I can tell you is that it’s okay. And if your roommate turns out to be as great as mine, he or she will cut you a little slack and make life a whole lot easier.

Linda Abel is double-majoring in marketing communications and business communications with an emphasis in professional organization. In her free time she likes to dance, watch movies, hang out with friends and spend time with family.