It was the beginning of freshman year and I just wanted a "great" roommate. I was terrified of living with someone else in college, where there wasn't any structure. I picked my roommate, needless to say it didn't work out. Although I look around at my friends who are best friends with their roommates and seem to "miss them" over break, I know now that with the lessons and experiences I had were worth it.
1. Communication is very hard, but essential.
Communication is extremely important in ANY relationship, but especially when you are living with another person. In my case, going into this, I wasn't great at it. I avoided conflict at all costs. That's what shattered my connection with my roommate. Talking about what is really affecting you may be hard, but it's worth the price.
2. I have to advocate for myself if I want anything from life.
I have learned to stand up for myself. If something isn't right in your eyes, say it. I am the type of person who beats around the bush to avoid hurt feelings, or worse, conflict. Yet, I learned that I shouldn't be afraid to stand up for myself and for things I believe are important.
3. First impressions aren't everything.
Throughout my life I've learned to be my best self when I first meet people. My thought after this experience is if my best self is not my true self, then why deceive them? I strongly believe my roommate wore a mask when I first met her, and took it off when we got to school. Always be true to yourself, not what you think people will like.
4. It's okay to not be okay.
I have always struggled with learning this lesson. But as I watched my friends LOVE their roommates I now understand it. Not everything has to be perfect, not everything has to be exactly how I pictured it or, even, wanted it. Things are allowed to be "just okay" and, to be honest, that's also perfectly okay.
5. One cannot hide behind another in order to avoid confrontation.
This is extremely important to me. I learned that hiding isn't productive. Going to an RA BEFORE going to one's roommate isn't helpful. The solution to resolving conflict is sitting down with your roommate and having a discussion about the dynamics in the room that are bothering you.
6. I am not always the problem.
I always believed that I was the problem, much before the many fights I had with my roommate. But after moving out I learned that I am not the reason why things went on a downfall. It wasn't just my issues that were on the table, but hers as well. I may have brought stress to the issue, but I am, myself, not the issue. There is a huge difference.
7. I am strong and capable of dealing with a lot
I have handled everything thrown my way. I have handled this situation and it makes me stronger. I have walked with my head held high because as the Destiny's Child song goes, "I'm a survivor, I won't gon give up."
8. Everything happens for a reason.
I was so excited to be close with my roommate, but since that door has been closed, more have opened. I have met more people I would've known as well, I have more memories to cherish, and I have gained more insight on myself. I wouldn't trade those opportunities for anything.
9. I need to love myself.
I beat myself up after watching my roommate cheer when I left. I beat myself up while picking up all my stuff and moving across campus. But I didn't beat myself up when I realized I am amazing, I am special, and if she couldn't see that, then it was her loss. No one can make you more happy that you can make yourself.
10. Never feel sorry about being yourself.
I was 100% myself during this experience. And NO, I am not sorry for it. You shouldn't apologize for liking a certain type of music no one likes. You shouldn't apologize for dressing the way you want because no one else does. You are 100% yourself, be confident.
11. I can be happy.
Nothing is wrong with me being "okay", but there is also nothing wrong with me being happy. I am happy now. I hated the dreaded months when I walked through the door, hoping not to see her, but it happening. Now I am a different person than I was when I started college and I am happy.
To my roommate,
Thank you for all the knowledge you have taught me.
Thank you for challenging me in ways I have never imagined.
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