Taking my daughter to college orientation brought back my college days. I was on the 5 year plan. I double majored, didn’t take summer classes, and worked part-time. Half of those years, I commuted from my parents house or lived in an apartment off campus with friends. But the first year of college, I lived in an apartment on campus.
I found it fascinating that my daughter had the opportunity to pick her own roommate. They had to create an online profile with their picture and a short description of themselves. They also had to rank themselves on several scales such as cleanliness, etc. Then when they found someone they thought would be a match, they were encouraged to talk to them more through social media which included scouring through all of their online pictures and comments. It reminds me of online dating. I mean, not that I ever used it. Being with the same person over 20 years severely limits my knowledge of online dating. Thankfully after conversations with a dozen people and a serious let down, Angel finally found the “right one”.
I really wish we had that back in the day. My first year on campus, I was thrown into an apartment with another freshman and two seniors. The two oldest roommates were absolutely psycho. I shared a bedroom with a nice Catholic girl (Krista) that never had a boyfriend. She really was into New Age music. Yeah, she was a bit strange but nothing compared to the other two.
After a couple of weeks, one of the roommates (Kate) sat us down and told us that she was HIV positive. This was back in the early 90’s, a time when everyone panicked about HIV. People thought that they could catch it from a toilet seat. What if she cut herself shaving or got a bloody nose? God forbid! My mother was ready to drag me back home. Sometimes I would come home to find Kate crying and freaking out. The other roommate (Kathy) who was her best friend would comfort her. It was always ackward. I never knew what to do so I locked myself in my room.
It wasn’t long before the older senior girls took over the living room area. They decorated it with crazy Halloween decor and penises. The walls were plastered with that crap. One day, my mom told me that she was going to come by to visit with my Aunt Jan and her little boy. Now my Aunt Jan is very religious. I knew she would freak out if she saw the state of our apartment. I pleaded with the roommates to take down to penis pictures. Thankfully they did, although my aunt never did come to visit that day.
We also had a chore chart in the apartment. After you completed the chore, you would slide the chore down to the next person’s name. I always left for the weekends, so I would get back and all of the chores would be in my name. I ended up having to do their sink full of dirty dishes from over the weekend. I think I made a stink about it, but it was three against one.
One day while I was doing my chore of taking out the garbage, I saw something rather interesting. I saw Kathy kissing Kate’s boyfriend. They were making out in the parking lot. After that, my roommates didn’t seem to be best friends anymore. I ran into Kathy a few months after we were no longer roommates. She told me that Kate didn’t have HIV after all. She said that Kate was just pretending so that she could be the center of attention.
Back in the day, I wish we could’ve picked our own roommates. I know my daughter will have a better experience than I did. Every weekend they have scheduled activities. I don’t remember ever having anything like that. The most fun I had was running out in a nearby field with Krista twirling around in long skirts just before a storm hit. It was my one time free spirit moment. College sounds like so much fun now that I wish I could live that part of my life all over again there.
Even during the campus tour and auditions, it sounded like a wonderful place to be. So wonderful that I mentioned out loud to my husband that we should quit our jobs and apply. The advisor commented that they do have a few non traditional students. Last year there was an 80 year old freshman. I said, “I sure hope that he wasn’t living in the freshman dorms”. Lol.
It sure is a lot easier letting go when I know my daughter will be in a wonderful place.