A timeline of what living with a roommate is really like

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FIKRE-SELAM HABEBO/File

For incoming students, the idea of trying to get along with a random roommate may seem intimidating, but to those of us who have been through the process, it’s a bittersweet walk down memory lane. In the midst of all the emotions that accompany living with a roommate for the first time, here’s a timeline of what the first half of the year tends to look like for most new roommates and their rather unlucky rooms.

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August

You’ve just met your roommate and your personalities are a little different, but you’re confident that things will work out. Besides, you’re not going to be spending much time in the room anyway. That’s what libraries are for. Duh!

September

It’s time to buckle up and figure out how this is going to work. You lay out some ground rules and come up with a pretty efficient system. It’s a beautiful, clean, collaborative environment. You’ve agreed that you won’t pick up after one another, because both sides of the room will be kept crystal clean. You’ve even learned how to use the laundry machines!

October

You found dirty tupperware on the windowsill again, and someone should probably sort through that assorted pile of socks behind the door. You’re fairly sure the milk in the mini fridge went bad a few weeks ago, but it’s not your turn to clean out the fridge. Or is it? Let’s face it: The system is starting to fall apart. But you spend more time in the room anyway, because only a crazy person would walk all the way to a library…or even down the hall to a study room.

November

Getting in bed is a daily battle, and at this point you’re just climbing under the covers — and the pile of clothes sprawled out on top of them — at 3 a.m. every night because you’re trying to get an ambitious five hours of sleep. Breakfast is just whatever food you find on your desk from last night, and the concept of “taking out the trash” has been completely lost. You and your roommate are starting to completely understand one another: You both have lost interest in cleaning things surprisingly quickly. You’re beginning to bond over complaining about classes and the mess neither of you are willing to deal with.

December

The entire room is carpeted with an extra layer of clothes, and you can only get to your overflowing desk after wading through piles of flyers you were too lazy to throw away. There’s no time to clean anything and even less time to tell your roommate to do so. Besides, your room is probably the cleanest one in the hall right now. So, you shove the stack of empty ramen boxes to the floor and continue pouring through that coffee-stained textbook with “Eye of the Tiger” on full blast. Your roommate, of course, jams out to it with you, because this is part of the study playlist you created together last night for emergency situations. Together, you are unstoppable.

January

Finals are over, and you finally get a chance to start fresh. You don’t bother coming up with a system this time, but you do become much more comfortable with assuming it’s not your turn to do something and blaming your roommate. The feeling is mutual, and neither of you care enough to mind.

February

The semester has  barely started and you’re already watching Netflix with your roommate on that pile of jackets in the corner of the room. It’s going to be worse than last semester, but you know you’ll get through it. If anything, you’ve bonded with your roommate. Nothing brings two random people together like a semester in a filthy room, coffee and Netflix.

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Contact Nitisha Baronia at [email protected].