few months back, the (student) president of a community college honors society asked if I’d be willing to be an advisor for the group. Their decades-experienced advisor was leaving and they were trying to put together a team in an attempt to fill the outgoing advisor’s shoes.
Of course, I accepted. I’m a nerd, they’re nerds. It was perfect.
Part of my duties as advisor include traveling with students in the group to various conferences and events. Recently we were in Missouri at a week-long shindig where the whole international clan gets together. On the outset, it looked good. Room and board at a private university, a week with many nerds, road trip in a van, and traveling with a work buddy (aka: partner in crime) who is also part of the new advising team.
The catch was the roommates. I never went away to college so I was singularly unprepared for how unpleasant the experience can be with a group of crappy roommates.
Fortunately, the set up where I slept was a shared common room and bathroom but private sleeping quarters. So I locked myself in my room and had a lot of quality alone time. At first it seemed counter-intuitive. I was missing all the good fun of sharing living space with random females from around the country. This is what college is for.
Every time I tried to get out and be social, however, I ran into another reason to keep to myself.
This is how I know I’ve matured. If I had found myself in the same situation ten years ago I would have started several fights. Or, at least, I would have made those females feel like the stupidest human beings on the planet. Either way, it would have been much more negative than it was. As is, I was simply the recluse of the four of us – not the mean girl. And that was okay by me. Better than a week-long battle with nasty women.
On a revelatory and related note, this may be the first time in over a decade that I am heartily thankful I lived at home during college. Thanks, Dad and Mom, for providing me with a non-terrible place to live.
What I want to know from you, The Readers, is this: what am I missing? Is there some trick to navigating terrible roomies that I just didn’t have time to discover or develop? I can’t figure out how people survive that kind of crap long-term.