Look how the tables have turned. I have spent the last three semesters acting at a Resident Assistance (RA) on campus. Even though roles of RA’s vary to a certain degree based on the grade, gender, and living expectations of the specific building/area you are assigned, we all have a couple common goals in mind. These range from mutual respect of all residents, to foster a safe and close community within halls, and to spread awareness on how to get the most out of your college experience (physically, mentally, and emotionally.)
Residences Assistants spend countless hours going through training, making door decorations, going on rounds, getting to know our residences and bonding as staffs. Within those hours of training we address topics of very sensitive sorts, but also learn about different coping mechanisms for dealing with issues of roommate conflicts and much more. During those training sessions, we are prepared for the multiple situations that could possibly occur. While, yes of course the training is necessary, I think we sometimes forget all the benefits that come with having a roommate.
If moving to another country to study wasn’t already enough of a change, I gained a roommate in the process. Living in Belgium and attending the Catholic University of Leuven have actually been really eye-opening and rewarding. I am fortunate enough to share all of these great experiences with another junior from Hanover College. Mallory and I have been friends and sorority sisters for a little over two years and our friendship really bloomed during our time working in the Admissions Office, as student ambassadors.
Even though Mallory and I have so much in common and I cherish our friendship deeply, living in close proximity with one person for such a long time could potentially be devastating for some friendships without proper communication. Granted the few tiffs we’ve had over the semester have been over whose turn it was to take out the trash or matters of that sort. Issues can really build up, if not brought into the open. Based on my re-fresher course of “how to live with a roommate 101”, I think I have been exposed and developed means of keeping a great relationship with a roommate that I will be fortunate enough to offer as tools for my freshman residence next fall.
Roommates are great especially when you are away from home, no matter how far. Whether you’re spending a semester in another country or only thirty minutes down the road. My roommate has been with me through so much, ranging from struggling through a really tough lecture, learning how to cook, navigating various countries with only a paper map and reassuring me every step of the way…she will always have my back. My study abroad experience has not only provided me with opportunities for personal growth, but it has allowed me to refresh my perspective on the realities of being a college student.