Roommates. I would like to think I am very experienced in this category. I can say this because I have lived with 20 different girls over the last 5 1/2 years (thank you 8 girl attic!). Truly, it is the best of times… shared closets, spontaneous outings, cheerful chatter… and it is the worst of times… shared closets, never alone, too much chatter... JUST KIDDING MY FRIENDS, it’s always the best of times! Roommates are simply a part of life during your late teens and twenties and you can learn valuable lessons from each experience you get. So I decided to take a stroll down roomie-lane and this is what I discovered:
YEAR 1: YOU CAN LIVE WITH YOUR BEST FRIEND FROM HIGH SCHOOL
Maybe it was just me – but living with my best friend from high school was a piece of cake. You hear those awful myths of best friends hating each other because they are confined to a box and fight all of the time – not true. Maybe it’s because we pledged different sororities OR knew how to handle each other when one decided to be a grouch (our method: ignore each other) – but I loved experiencing freshman year with my high school BFF. Our year changed us individually, but never our friendship. It allowed us to grow into who we wanted to be, but gave us a safe place to run to when things got rough. We got to experience different settings, meet new friends, and blend both worlds at the end of the day. Moral of the story: You get to experience the new and come back to your 10×10 dorm room and have the greatest familiar face to share it with. Hal, you rule!
YEAR 2: SOMETIMES YA GOTTA LAUGH IT OFF
Fun Fact: When you pledge Chi Omega at the University of Arkansas, you don’t get to choose your roommates when you live in house Sophomore Year. Now to be honest – it was SUPER scary to sit back waiting for them to draw your name out of hat to determine your living assignment for the next semester; however, I think one of my greatest lessons was learned from this year: YOU GOTTA GO WITH THE FLO. Like I said, first semester I lived in a room with one other girl and it was chill and easy going. Second semester, I lived in a room with 7 other girls. Yes, you heard me – SEVEN. When you live in a room like this you deal with the occasional: lamp on till 3 in the morning, snores from across the bunk, people coming in after a long night, and clothes EVERYWHERE. But like I said – to survive – you learn to go with the flow. I cherish little things I learned about those 7 girls that year: a Reese’s cup can make any hurt go away, Rice Cakes and Peanut Butter make an interesting snack, chunk a pillow at a girls head and she will stop snoring, and 8 girls CAN survive happily in one room… sometimes you just have to laugh off the bad to get to the good stuff.
YEAR 3: YOU CAN FIND THE CHANDLER TO YOUR JOEY
F.R.I.E.N.D.S., it was a common theme around our room that year. Not only did we watch it 24/7, but I also found the Chandler to my Joey. We laughed, we cried, we did not play Foosball (if only we could have fit that in our room!!!) – but we did eat a lot. Looking back, I think most of the things I love today come from that year: 80’s music, corn dogs and quality friendship. Junior year, I discovered a good friend/roommate is always loyal. When living with a roommate, you get to see all sides: the good, the bad and the extremely ugly. Each person handles life differently from one another, and Sarah showed me what it looked like to love and encourage someone through it all (even if they are being a giant pill.. eek!) Staying loyal to a roommate is key. And at the end of the day if life beats you too rough, just stick with what F.R.I.E.N.D.S. taught us – order a pizza, relax in a comfortable seat and just enjoy the person next to ya. You can’t lose with a good friend by your side.
YEAR 4: EMBRACE THE UNIQUENESS OF THE SITUATION
I think one of my favorite years of life will be my senior year. It was so new and hilarious to me. First time to live in a house without a meal plan. First time experiencing bills and landlords and creepy neighbors. First time a different person slept on my couch each week. First time realizing that we could host awesome function pre-partys. And looking back, I realized that is the last “first times” for all of those things, and I am so glad we did it all. Senior year, I learned to embrace the uniqueness of the situation. I lived with 3 girls who I thought I knew up and down, yet the year showed me how unique we were from each other (in a good way!) We embraced the laid-back personalities and just watched movies; we embraced the spontaneous personalities and made up random kitchen games. We embraced that our house was close to campus/Dickson and different friends would be sleeping on our couches each week; we embraced leaky floors, spiders and snakes, and even sharing 1 bathroom. WHY?! Because we were never going to be in an incredibly amazing, hilarious situation like that again. So that’s what we did. We embraced each other, the house and all the glorious extras that came with it — and WOW what an incredible year it gave us in return.
YEAR 5: A TIME TO GROW
Finishing college is rough. Friends leave, expectations come and, honestly, most people just don’t know what they heck they want to do – at least I didn’t! You have to go from living the free and easy college life to transitioning to, as my dad says, the real world (cue a girl siting at her cubicle in a horrible suit, hating life and has no time for fun – NOT ME! NEVAAAA!) But really, the year can be tough, and the best way to go through it is to have roommates to grow with. I can look at last year and see how we had to support each other during the changes, but I think James 1:2-4 sums it up best,“ Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way” (The Message). I can consider it joy that I was able to grow and be challenged with my roommates encouraging me at my side. Our faith was strengthened, our character sharpened and our lives were prioritized. “As iron sharpens iron…” <– thats what it’s about people.
YEAR 6: LIVE FULLY, LIVE WITH INTENTION
I was in need of a change. I wasn’t leaving Fayetteville, so I decided I wanted to live with girls I didn’t really know well. Afraid of leaving the comfortable, I went for it anyway. And three months in – WOW, God showed me what he could do when I trust Him. He set me up to live in the most perfect house and room with two girls, twins may I add, that are real go-getters (‘How to Live with Twins’.. it needs a blog post on it’s own! ha). When they want to do something, well by-golly, they will do it. And it has me wanting to do it all, too! In the last 3 months, we have started dinner club, book club, and thrown two movie-on-the-lawn parties. We are relearning Spanish, experimenting with cooking, and running 5ks and kayaking rivers. We bike, we bible study, we craft, we run. We have bucket lists and plans to check them all. I have learned to put aside the should-haves and could-haves and simply do what I have been wanting to do, today. Together we are realizing to live fully, we have to live with intention. And I promise ya, this is the best way to live.
So go high five your roomies and enjoy the days to come. They are sure to be great days.
YEAR 1: HAL (suite mates: Lynz and Jana)
Year 2: Olivia Sheppard, Tess Smrt, Claire Meadors, Cymber Browder, Olivia Lensing, Nicole Jackson, Megan Johnson, and Jesse Clark. Honorary, Sara Simpson. (Basically – all of Chi Omega)
Year 3: Chandler to my Joey – Sarah Holland
Year 4: The Dub Club aka SAS, Marge & Lizard
Year 5: Timeless – Bear & Liz
Year 6: The Lizard Pad – MB and Mad Farrish