Roommates make life hard, interesting

Living alone removes an excitement from college experience.

Image courtesy of Wet Paint. 

Anyone who has ever had a roommate knows it can be a challenge, but over the years I’ve come to learn that the hard work it takes to maintain a solid roommate relationship is worth it.

My first experience with a roommate in the dorms at NDSU was not a happy one. Those of you who know me know meeting new people is my favorite thing to do. But, not all people are people you really want to spend a lot of time with, much less live with.

When I transferred to UND, I chose my next roommate more carefully. In fact, one of the reasons I decided to transfer to UND specifically was to room with a guy who has been my best friend for more than eight years (also named Mike).

Mike and I are complete and total opposites in almost every way — and from the outside, it would seem like we’d be horrible friends. Yet, the more time we spend around each other, the stronger our friendship becomes.

That’s not to say we haven’t faced challenges, but somehow our friendship has remained intact no matter how mean, loud or inappropriate a heated exchange between us ever got.

This is why rooming with a best friend was a good idea, at least for me. We feel comfortable enough with each other to say if one of us is getting on the other’s nerves, but we also both want to preserve a friendship that has lasted so long.

Like I said, we’re both very different people. Of the two of us, I tend to be the more financially responsible one. It’s gotten to the point that Mike’s first thought when making a poor financial decision is, “Don’t tell Rauser.”

Then, of course, there’s the roommate stuff that everyone is familiar with. I like warm environments — ironic given where I live, I know — and I believe that once inside an apartment, a man should be able to get away with wearing fewer than five coats. Unfortunately, my roommate thinks the inside of our apartment should feel like the arctic circle.

But those are minor things, and I know I can be difficult sometimes as well. I have a bad habit of intentionally pushing buttons, and, with my roommate, I go further than normal because I know him well enough to know exactly how far I can go. But, if a line is crossed between us, we’re familiar enough with each other to let the other one know right away, rather than just let it bubble up under the surface.

I’ve learned a lot from my friendship with Mike — like why Nicholas Cage is either the greatest actor of our time or the worst, the importance of preparing for the inevitable zombie uprising and that there really is a difference between football and soccer. But the most important thing I’ve learned throughout our friendship is any two people can be friends regardless of background, similarity or common interests.

Mike loves fast cars, fast planes and guns. I don’t really care about any of those things. I love parties, music, books and video games. He isn’t as into those things, and the ones he is into are different from the ones I am. Our politics are on opposite ends of the spectrum, as are our personalities. And yet, we have been best friends for more than eight years.

Living with a roommate can be challenging, but if it’s the right one, it can also be the most rewarding experience of your life.

Michael Rauser is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected].