We’ve all experienced the excitement of finding out we are going to live with friends during university. At least, that is how I felt when I decided to live with two of my closest friends entering my second year. Little did I know that for 8 months, I’d be living in what I can only describe as “a living hell.”
For months, I experienced being excluded in my own apartment; having the door shut across my face when they entered each other's rooms, being told I was acting “irrational” for asking them to lower their voices when they were bringing guests on a Wednesday night at 4 a.m., and having to endlessly ask for the communal areas to be cleaned.
I never felt more alone and anxious in my life. Thankfully, I found peace when I moved to my own place. Of course, this is something that not every student has the opportunity to do, and I acknowledge I had the privilege to do so. But believe me, I could not be happier and more at peace living in my own place.
Don’t worry, I do not want to scare you. I’ve heard some wonderful roommate stories from people across campus. But, I do want to point out many — and I say MANY, if not the majority — of students I’ve talked to have had similar experiences as mine.
Living with other people is not easy. Different lifestyles and values clash. It can be really frustrating when you are living with people that are completely different from you. But, it can also be detrimental to friendships. I, for one, believed this arrangement would work. For reasons I rather leave in the therapy room — I will not discuss that here. But, living with a friend can create co-dependence or completely the opposite.
So, let this article be a “warning sign,” perhaps before you choose who you want to live with next academic year. And, if my words aren’t enough, maybe these other stories will convince you.
The Phoenix News asked for students’ roommate horror stories on Instagram. One student commented:
“In my first year, my roommate and I just shared a bathroom, and this man had no aim. My roommate would pee on the floor and just everywhere, it was awful. I had to wear shoes to go to the bathroom, and he’d even flood the place cuz he wouldn’t use a shower curtain.”
Another student said:
“They left a stranger in my house without warning me, but got mad when my boyfriend was over with me.”
If those stories weren’t enough, here is one that’ll certainly give you serious trust issues:
“Oh man, where do we start? It was the beginning of the pandemic, and I was going to go back home to Mexico. A close friend of mine asked me if he could use the utilities from my apartment (washing machine, TV, etc). I said yes, but I told him that he could not use the car nor sleep in the place, and he agreed. But little did I know that he couldn’t care less about this agreement.”
He went on to add:
“A couple of months later, I returned home only to find an unlocked, open door, and what I could only describe as a disgusting mess. Sheets were stained with grease, broken dishes, a hole in the bathroom wall, rotten wood from the window frame (it was open), and my clothes thrown all over the floor. But, what made me lose my mind was the fact he’d been using my car and added over 500 km to it. You can only imagine how the rest of the apartment looked like. I angrily confronted him, and he gaslighted me and told me ‘It used to look worse.’ I did not receive my security deposit back, and I had to pay for everything myself. We haven’t talked since.”
So, now you may be wondering: how do you deal with a “roommate from hell”? Well, I’d suggest stating firm ground rules at the start, and establishing effective communication. Make sure that if you’re going to move in with someone you know, that you two share a similar lifestyle and have other things in common. If they are being too loud, reach out to your landlord or RA.
I hope anyone who reads this doesn't go through what many of us have during the next academic year. But, let this article serve as your “You have been warned” sign.