I am one of those people that believe everything happens for a reason, exactly the way it is meant to happen. That is why I don’t dream of time travel, and why I try not to regret anything, because I know it is all supposed to end up in a specific way in the greater scheme of things. A series of unfortunate events lead me to meeting my freshman year roommate, Grace Griffin, online in April of 2017. But I would not have had it any other way.
It was Spring Break 2017. While everyone else was going on vacation, heading to the beach, or genuinely enjoying some downtime, I was prepping for the infamous wisdom teeth surgery. Needless to say, I wasn’t very excited.
I followed protocol: I didn’t eat or drink eight hours beforehand, I got there early, etc. Once I finally met with the doctor I was told that I am one of the few people who have their wisdom teeth growing on their nerves, meaning if something goes wrong during surgery I may never recover. At this point I wanted them to put me under so I didn’t have to sit in my anxiety of that possibility any longer.
I woke up high as a kite after surgery. It was great. I stumbled down the hall of the doctor’s office, was forced to sit down next to my mom as the nurse told her post-op instructions, which I found out later were given incorrectly which only prolonged my pain.
I eventually made it home, where I started to feel immense pain after the high wore off. I got very nauseous from swallowing so much of my own blood, so I took the prescribed anti-nausea pills. They didn’t work. For hours I was dry heaving over my waste basket because the nurse told me how to take the pills incorrectly. This offset my recovery, and I ended up being in pain way longer than a week.
You are probably wondering, “How does this have to do with her becoming best friends with her freshman year roommate?” I am getting there. While spending hours upon hours wailing in pain in my bed, I was on my phone a lot. I was frequently checking the Emerson Accepted Students page, trying to meet new people, when I stumbled upon Grace.
Her bio and photos were so quirky and inviting. I messaged her on instagram and said, “We have so much in common please be my friend!” she replied instantly saying “Yes!! Same major!!” The rest was history.
But in reality the rest wasn’t history. I may have gotten lucky finding a roommate I click with so easily, but it takes work and selflessness to live in such a small space with someone else. Luckily Grace and I have similar music tastes (we made a conjoined playlist called “Good Jamz Only Zone” it is 11 hours long) and we fell into the same social groups, but what if we didn’t?
There were times when our schedules were very different and we learned to be respectful of that. Using your phone as a flashlight when you arrive home late because your roommate is sleeping, or eating your cereal early in the morning before your 8am outside of the room so the crunch of the flakes doesn’t wake up your roommate are basic respect rules everyone should abide by when living with someone else.
But living with someone your freshman year is much more than that. It is sharing this crazy new experience with another person. I often referred to Grace as the “old ball and chain” because it honestly felt like we were married. We shared all the good times together: the drunken late night food binging, spilling the tea, exploring the city, and taking refreshing mid-day naps together. We also shared the bad times: when school was suffocating, when boys let us down, and when the cold weather began to lower our moods. All of this made us closer, and formed a stronger friendship.
Even if you don’t become super close with your freshman year roommate, cherish the situation you are in. Respect each other. Set boundaries when needed. Be honest, but not cruel. Eat with them. Share your day with them. Make your living situation less of an assignment, and more of a home. It’ll make a difference on the tough days.
You always hear that you will make friends for life in college, and that saying runs true in this case. Grace taught me how to be unapologetically myself, no matter how weird I may be. She is a vibrant light that keeps on glowing. She made a foreign city across the country from my hometown feel like home. She help turn a standard dorm room into a loving oasis. She taught me what it means to put someone else before myself, and how to cohabit peacefully.
If it weren’t for my traumatic wisdom teeth removal experience I never would have found Grace’s post and messaged her and I wouldn’t have had the amazing freshman year that I did by her side. It is funny how things work out like that and how my freshman year roommate became my bff.
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