I grew up an only child and wasn’t forced to share a room with another person until I was 18, a freshman in college. I was lucky enough to be able to choose that roommate. My best friend, Moira, and I shared a room for our first year at Iowa State.
One learns things by sharing a close space with another person; you learn likes and dislikes, pet peeves, schedules, moods, how to have a tougher skin, and just about everything else. I’m lucky to have learned this while attending college because it allowed me to be much more flexible and understanding in other situations. Moira and I were about as close to perfect as roommates could get. When Moira left to study abroad, I was forced to find a new roommate. Luckily, I had made friends with a classmate and she was also looking for a roommate. We also learned to work together and live cohesively. Both roommates turned out for the better and I thought I would be in the clear because after that semester, I moved into in an apartment with my own bedroom and even my own bathroom.
Now you may be wondering, what does this have to do with Rome? Well… unfortunately, having my own bedroom didn’t last. The rooms in Rome were shared by 2-4 people and the apartments were shared with 4-8 people. I was a bit annoyed but assumed going back to sharing a bedroom would return to how it was with my previous roommates. What I didn’t realize, is that some people don’t ever get the experience to live and learn from others and in turn, don’t know how to properly live/exist with others.
I left my parents house and became primarily independent at 18, for those who don’t get this semi-independence, the transition seems to be much more difficult. The older you get, the harder it is to realize how to compromise, how to vent without having your mom 24/7, and how to be properly social with others.
I shared a room with one of these unfortunate people; it was truly sad to have someone turn from a friend to an stranger in what should have been the most stress free semester of my life. Now I’m not writing this to condemn her for her actions or to beat a dead horse on what was done and the lies that were told. I am writing this because it was one of my biggest disappointments of studying abroad, realizing how changing a friend to a roommate could be so catastrophic, as well as an important learning experience for myself.
Of course, I would never place the blame only on the roommate, but also on myself and the mistakes I certainly made handling situations, as well as the previous deprivation of independence forcing someone to change so drastically when they finally receive it.
I’m not upset, I’m not angry, I’m sad that this had to happen with someone I cared for so much. But I am in high hopes that it was a learning experience and the roommate’s coexistence with others improves because of our downfall.
I have learned from the situation myself; I have learned to leave things in the past and not to stress over things that are uncontrollable. With all the positives, there will always be a negative, and always a way to learn from both.