3 Things I Learned By Living With a Roommate

Posted August 22, 2013 by Kelsie Kam in Life After Five
Next week, I officially start my senior year of college. One of the perks of starting my last year is that I am finally living off-campus in an apartment. I spent the last week moving in and getting settled, and my roommate arrived a couple of days ago.  Living in an apartment, as opposed to the dorms, gives us much more space and privacy.  Watching my current roommate move in made me think about my previous roommates and my relationships with them.  There was obviously tension at times between my roommates and I, which could be attributed to living in such a small space and never being able to find time apart.

Even though we didn’t get along once in a while, I am still on good terms with all of my previous roommates.  Remembering my relationships with them led me to think more about myself, and I realized how much I have grown since I first came to the University of Notre Dame three years ago.

There are so many classes, events, and people who played a role in shaping who I am, but I honestly believe that living with my different roommates taught me the most valuable life lessons.

While I’m sure everyone has different takeaways from living with a roommate, these are the three most important things that I have learned:

  • If you have a problem with something, don’t hesitate to bring it up.  I know too many people (myself included) who got into fights with their roommates because no one vocalized when something bothered them. Keeping in that anger only made things worse, especially if your roommate didn’t even know why you were upset. This has helped me both in work and in my personal life; the longer you leave an issue unresolved, the worse the outcome is likely to be.  It’s still difficult to bring up problems I may have, but I am much more comfortable doing so than I used to be.
  • You can’t force friendship.  One of my roommates and I tried to hang out together on the weekends, but it never quite seemed to work.  We saw us living together as a reason to have the same friends and do the same things, but one of us always felt a little out of place.  We started spending more time apart with our respective friend groups, and both felt happier.  While we weren’t close friends, we were still friendly toward each other.  Being friendly was the best thing that happened to our relationship because we appreciated each other more since we weren’t seeing each other every second of every day.  If you don’t click with someone, that isn’t an excuse to cut them out of your life; you should still be civil and friendly toward each other.
  • Take time for yourself.  This is probably the most important thing that I learned while sharing a room.  It’s really challenging to find time alone when all of your friends live in the same building as you, so you have to work to make time for you.  It will be easier for me to be alone since I have my own room now, but I have also found that time to myself is just as important in my work.  Working over the summer or while doing homework, I try to work for fifty minutes straight and then take a ten-minute break.  This ensures that my work gets done, but I don’t go crazy trying to do everything at once.

About the Author

Kelsie Kam

Kelsie Kam is a rising senior at the University of Notre Dame studying Management Entrepreneurship and Spanish. She is from Kaneohe, Hawaii and although she misses seeing the mountains and the ocean every day, she is looking forward to experiencing all Chicago has to offer. Kelsie loves Zumba, but she will try to run outdoors more often to see the city. She is excited to work with the CGN team and hopefully inspire more women to better themselves both in and out of the workplace.