What I Have Learned
I tried my best to write these pieces as a listener. Meaning, I wanted to write for them, not about them; I wanted to include everything they had to say in each installment without including my thoughts. I also tried my best to incorporate exact phrases and wording Carolyn, Evan, Scar, and Steph used in the interviews. Now I want to break down what I learned in each of the sections I covered in the installments.
Title/Length of Interview
When I began writing I titled each of the installments: installment 1, installment 2… Then, as I began writing I decided to incorporate the basics on each person I interviewed as the title. I also decided that incorporating the interview time was important because it shows how different each interview was. Each person responded differently to each question and talked more about some things than others making the interview length change per interview.
This section I learned the demographics of each person’s dorm/ house. Before the interviews I assumed this section would be a good guide in to some of my deeper questions regarding relationships, drama, and trust. It turns out each person liked giving me the run-down of their dorm/house and describing how many people lived there. In both of the girls interviews they began to actually talk about their relationships during the living situation sections, which was interesting because I hadn’t asked what her relationship was with her roommates or how were roommates acted. This led for interesting developments when I did begin to ask about roommate relationships.
This section is where all of the interviewees became most personal. They could have been very private about their feelings towards their roommates, but they were not. Each of them was very open and honest about how they felt about each of their roommates and their roommates collectively. All of them also talked about how they met their roommates and how that relates to how you become roommates with someone. It showed me that your roommates are not always your friends going in, but they can either become your friend, or become simply your roommate. There was an interesting distinction between friend and roommate. Scar made it clear in her interview that one of the girls was her roommate, not her friend. And that even though she was friendly with her she would not consider them friends.
This section taught me how often people do things with each other. Most of the interviewees said if they could hang out with their roommates more, they would. Each of them are students, and all of their roommates are students. With some of them having full course loads and working part time it makes it hard to do things as a group especially for Scar and Steph who live with more than one person.
What does it mean to be close and to trust your roommates?
In this section I began by asking if each of them trusted their roommates and if they were close with their roommates. Initially, I got yes and no answers. I furthered the questions to: what does being close mean to you, and what does trust mean to you. This is where I learned a ton. Being close for most of them meant that they could be themselves and get personal with their roommates and not feel judged. I also learned being close is not something that happens initially. It takes time to grow roommate closeness and trust.
For most of them trusting their roommates with their material things like electronics and clothes is what they associated trust with. But I asked about emotional trust and they said that it is important to trust your roommate’s word and trust that they have your best interests at heart. And Scar brought up something I never thought about, she trusts her roommates financially. If her roommates cannot hold up their end of the rent, they will get evicted which is something lots of students that live off campus have to deal with.
This section gave the interviewees a chance to reflect on everything they had just told me. It showed me that not only was I learning about roommates across a college campus, but they were learning about themselves in relation to their roommates as well.
My Final Thoughts and Thanks
I went in to this project curious. Curious about what this word roommate meant to people. What I learned is that besides sharing a living space with people, you have to be able to be compatible with the people you live with whether you are friends with them or not. Most college students sign a one year lease, and one year is a long time if you and your roommate are incompatible. What I also learned is there is a lot of optimism in the roommate sphere. Based off the four students I interviewed, no one wanted new roommates or to be in a different situation. They were all optimistic things were going to get better, or looked at their roommates as a learning experience for the future and can see what they like and do not like about having roommates.
I respect that every student on this campus has or has had a roommate and each story is different. Hopefully by me presenting to you the story of four different people, with different ages, genders, and living situations you take away something significant and can relate it to your own situation or previous situation.
I want end by saying thank you to Carolyn, Evan, Scar, and Steph for their time and contribution in making this collection what it is.