Slice of life: Appreciate your roommates, even when they are getting on your nerves

You may have missed it in the midst of midterm stress, but last week was Roommate Appreciation Week. Truth be told, I wasn’t in the mood to appreciate roommates last week. In fact, I came pretty close to throwing one of mine out the window.

Midterm season left me tired and cranky. And if there is one thing I value in this world, it’s my sleep. At about 4 a.m. last Wednesday, I awoke to my roommate screaming, “Oh *&^%, this isn’t good!”

Ever the cool calm and collected one, I shot up in bed and opened my eyes, expecting to see the room enveloped in flames. Instead, I watched with bewilderment as my roommate muttered angrily to himself, stared at his phone, made his way to his desk, loudly shuffled some things around, looked at his phone again and then fell back into bed with a harrumph.

He went right back to sleep. But I was wide-awake with my heart pounding and feeling less than appreciative.

Everyone has their roommate stories. Some are worse than others.

One friend of mine had roommates freshman year who reset all of his alarms so he woke up at 5 a.m. thinking it was 8 o’clock. They also replaced all his sugar with salt, which he then poured all over his Cheerios. Hmm. Yum.

During a summer abroad program a few years ago, I had a roommate who thought it was OK to walk around naked.

Luckily, I’ve been blessed to have good roommates at GW. We’ve even become good friends, and my roommate from freshman year, Tim, is one of my three suitemates.

But regardless of how great your roommates are, it’s hard living with other people in a cramped space. Sleep can be difficult since schedules rarely line up. Personal space and time is hard to come by. And roommates can certainly get in the way of your love life – romantic rendezvous can come to a panicked end when a roomie returning home early sends you scrambling.

It seems a bit ridiculous that as students at the second most-expensive university in the world’s richest country we should have to share bedroom space with someone else. But while roomies can cause stress, they do deserve some appreciation.

It hit me last week that Tim is graduating in December and will be moving out into the real world. As I strolled down memory lane, I realized that nearly all of my roommate memories were happy ones: fun parties, engaging political discussions and countless laughable, embarrassing moments. I also remembered all the times he helped me, whether it was carting my overweight luggage, doing our dishes or just listening to me vent.

Come to think of it, I should probably do a bit more to show my roomies how much I appreciate them.

When was the last time you did something nice for your roommate?

On Friday GW Housing distributed candy corn packets listing tips for how to “sow the seeds of appreciation.” The tips stressed the importance of open communication and ended with this pearl of wisdom: “Plan a ‘Roommate Date’ in the next few weeks…”

My roommates are great, but they are pretty macho. If I ask them out on a date, I might end up with a broken nose. But I guess I could take them out for a beer.

An official Roommate Appreciation Week may be cheesy, but the basic principle behind it is a good one. While living with a roommate isn’t always easy, if you are able to respect each other and communicate, you might walk away from the deal with some lifelong friends.

It’s easy to complain, but I’m actually going to miss my roommates, even if they sometimes interrupt my beauty sleep.

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