From ‘My’ Space to ‘Our’ Space

Coming to college, the first big challenge most people face is having to share a room with a stranger. While for some, this is an exciting proposition, others find this to be like living their worst nightmare! Generally there are two extreme scenarios that are commonly seen before one actually starts living in a shared room:

Scenario 1 (for the optimists/the ones going through life carrying a pair of rose-tinted glasses): You are super- excited to get to college and stay in a double room. You suffer from a mental condition where you think anybody who shares a room with you will love you forever and you’ll be the best of buddies. You, my dear, are absolutely delusional!

Scenario 2: You don’t expect much from your allotted roommate. You have resigned yourself to the fact that your roommate might be the human equivalent of a pig. You expect to hate your roommate for the sole offence of having been allotted to share a room with you. The only thing you truly want in life is a space for yourself which you don’t have to share with anyone. Chances are your parents have forced you to opt for a double room as a lesson in sharing, getting along with people and other social graces you couldn’t be less interested in.

Starting afresh in a new environment might be a huge change, but it does not essentially change the person one is. While no one undergoes a complete change of mind, the ones at the end of the spectrum do neutralize in their opinion regarding this. Irrespective of which category one belongs to while starting off, the realization soon dawns that nothing could prepare you for the experience of sharing a room. While some days your roommate may be your closest confidante and provide you moral support to continue with your inconsequential existence, other days you’ll hate him/her for the barely perceptible scratching noise their pencil makes while writing. There will be nights when you crave a little bit of solitude to contemplate in peace which will coincidentally be the night your roomie will want to bring their friends over to the room to chat well into the night.

A common mistake many of us make is that we try to impose our choices on people around us. Your love for EDM is not an excuse to blare music in the room while your roomie is around unless you know for a fact that they do not mind. (Note: just as in other cases, saying nothing isn’t the same as giving consent.) Respect their space and kindly use earphones or headphones or whatever other contraption you like to keep from harassing your roomie with that incessant noise.

Often while sharing a room, the most important concern that eventually crops up is clashing sleep schedules. In such cases, instead of starting to resent your roommate for his/her lack of consideration or just getting irritable at them, it’s much easier to invest in a sleeping mask/study lamp (as applicable) than launching into a cold war and stewing in pent-up anger. Do be sensitive to the needs of those around you.

There are many people who enjoy being around lots of people while some abhor the very idea and consider even three to be a crowd. Be clear on which category your roommate falls into before bringing your friends, mutual or otherwise, over to your room.

While sharing living space it is inevitable that issues will crop up. However handling them with a certain amount of sensitivity often helps to prevent complicating things. At a juncture when it’s perfectly natural to feel homesick, dealing with someone who makes your life unbearable (pardon the dash of drama) might be the last thing you want to do in life. Despite that, running away from problems should never be your way out. Nothing tops the healing power of talking things out. Also, please do not involve mutual friends or acquaintances in every little issue.

Just as every other situation with its own unique set of pros and cons, sharing a room also comes with some perks. You’ll always have someone to talk to at midnight when the deepest thoughts occur to you and must be bounced off someone else. You might also just get lucky and find your best friend for life from the random pairings as allotted by the hostel authorities.

So don’t stress, be open-minded, introspect and analyze the situation before calling it quits.

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