After many nights in the library, many phone calls with mom, and many unforgettable moments… I have finally completed my first year of college. Mostly, I want to dedicate this post to anyone who may be finding themselves spending the rest of the summer biting their nails thinking of their freshman year at college and the amazing journey that they are about to embark…

To recent high school graduates…. here’s an open letter to all of you:

First and foremost…congratulations!! You are done (or will be soon). I’m sure all of you are thinking about packing up and moving along, so I have a few words of advice for those of you who are probably asking yourself questions like “how many towels do I bring?” or “how am I going to decorate my small and cozy dorm room?” and probably “what do I do if my roommates are terrible?”

My year at SDSU for sure was a tough one both academically and socially- I will not lie. The transition you experience going to college is a rough one, yet so eye-opening and truthfully- I would not change much about my freshman year.

I ended up having pretty awful roommates, lets call them K, D, and R. Slowly but surely as the year went on I discovered their true colors and they weren’t pretty. I lived in a triple room that was in a suite (imagine an apartment- two bathrooms, one kitchen, 9 bodies full of estrogen). My immediate roommates shared in my struggle with having to live with awful suite mates (shoutout to Gaby and Brielle- a band of brothers, or rather sisters…. that fought these troubling roommate battles alongside me). Here is the run down: my suite mates were the most inconsiderate, immature, disrespectful, and unsanitary people I have ever met. On a normal day, I would wake up at the break of dawn to hit the showers before D would take her usual 45 minute long bathroom trip, I’d go to the gym, and then to class. The rest of my day would be spent avoiding going into my suite for as long as possible. When I finally had to come to the suite, I’d wash a pile of dishes, clean up 3-day old messes, and shower in a bathroom that was covered in hair and other various messes. As I would lay me down to rest for the night my roommates would then come crawling out of their caves after their long day of nothingness and Netflix to be loud, eat, and make messes until the late hours. The cycle would repeat itself, I’d comment on the situation, try to ask for help out around the suite, the cycle ends…. then a few days later the cycle would repeat.

I could honestly go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on about how terrible I thought these people where… however so you really understand my situation I’ll leave you with one small anecdote. It was the night of D’s birthday so my suitemates’ night began with sloppy binge drinking, talking about the boys they would bring home later that night, and playing their usual music of choice- 2000s hip hop hits and fetty wap (this was seriously the background soundtrack of my entire freshman year). The night ended with D peeing on herself and all over the couch while me and my other angel-suitemates doing everything we could to revive her and a bathroom with a toilet full to the brim with unspeakable substances/objects. Was it cleaned? No. Did anyone even at LEAST get a thank you for cleaning up and saving D’s life? NO.

Anyhow- I’m going to tell you why I learned to love the roommates I hated despite all the stresses and injustice I was put through.

  1. THEY TAUGHT ME PATIENCE: after living with these girls for the year, I learned that certain things will take time, and certain things are out of your control and the best thing to do is approach the situation full of grace and a calm mind.
  2. THEY TAUGHT ME GRATITUDE: every day, I’d ask myself why my roommates were so horrid, then I would tell myself that maybe being stuck in a suite with awful people was a blessing in disguise. I became grateful for the way I was raised and the values that I upheld. I began to realize that maybe some individuals cannot help themselves- they do not know true respect for themselves or others, or maybe they weren’t blessed to have amazing parents/role models like I did.
  3. THEY TAUGHT ME ABOUT MYSELF: my suite mates taught me things about myself that I had never known- I learned how I perceive conflict, and how I normally reacted or managed it. This helped me to improve on my own methods of seeing and defeating conflict and tensions- both of which are bound to arise throughout my lifetime.
  4. THEY TAUGHT ME HOW TO BE MORE SOCIAL: when I say I avoided going home at all costs… I really meant it. I found a few special spots on campus as my escape: the koi pond, the library, the student union, and other people’s dorms. In fact- I’d say the fact that my roommates pushed me to find others who are like me is the reason that I made such great friends this past year. Had it not been my reluctance to spend time with my roommates I wouldn’t have explored all the parts of campus that I find special today, and I probably wouldn’t have found myself at the suite down the hall quite as often. It was things like spending the day outside or in friends’ rooms that made me look forward to the next day, and it is what helped me to get involved and be more social during my first year SDSU experience.
  5. THEY TAUGHT ME TO EMBRACE DIVERSITY: while my suite mates and I had many tensions and conflicts towards the end of our year together, they taught me that conflict is okay, and that everyone is truly unique in their own ways. It was very eye-opening to me; my biggest takeaway from this all was that no one is the same- not in their dress, their mindset, their political views, their lifestyles, their music tastes… the list can go on and on. There comes a certain point where you have to decide for yourself to not spend your precious energy on highlighting the negativities and the conflicts, but rather focus your energy to more productive outlets. Living with nine girls in a small space made me embrace the fact that everyone is different and there really isn’t much that you can do about it but live your own life and ignore any others that try to stop you from that.

There you have it, a few reasons why rooming up with someone who is different than you, or doesn’t see eye to eye with you isn’t completely terrible; there are so much better things to look forward to in college to keep yourself up at night worrying about nothing.

Coming from a former first-year…. you will survive! It will be tough but if I can do it then so can you…

Outlook and mindset is everything.

-M

 

**This blog post can also be seen on my personal blog

Published by Marisa Costales