Roommates, love them or hate them
Finding suitable roommates is anything but easy. In some cases, strangers can become new best friends and build strong bonds that last a lifetime. In others, they turn out to be a nightmare.
In most situations, students need roommates due to the outrageously priced real estate in California.
Even though I have been blessed with great roommates throughout my two years living in this country, I have witnessed what other people and their roommates go through on a daily basis.
Santa Monica College student Eman Ibrahim has experienced both the favorable and negative aspects of living with roommates.
“I love the fact that you can become very good friends with the people you live with," Ibrahim said. "However, there may be conflicts if everybody has different opinions. You may not get along with everybody.”
International students leave family, friends and the life they were used to at home for new adventures that lie ahead.
In 2011, I decided to move from Sweden to settle down in Santa Barbara for a year.
I needed to find a new apartment and also new roommates. Furthermore, in order to see which girls would be compatible as roommates, the organization I went through had me complete a survey.
Without knowing what to expect, and the idea that I would be moving in with complete strangers, my nervousness increased. In addition, I was told several different horror stories about how crazy roommates can become.
Fortunately, the three girls I ended up with in a two-bedroom apartment were anything but insane. The reason we worked well together was the high level of communication and courtesy we had with each other.
Within the first week, we made a list of rules, which included the basic household chores, when to keep the noise down, and giving each other a heads up before having guests over.
A year later, I moved from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles. I had already become used to coping with a new city, school, apartment and new roommates.
Luckily, one of my closest friends from Santa Barbara came with me to Los Angeles. We decided to share a room together and quickly found two other Santa Monica College students from Sweden who were excited to share the apartment with us.
Within the six months we lived with each other, new roommates came in and out. It ended up with nearly 10 females with strong personalities sharing an apartment, and there wasn't any privacy, so it just became too much to handle.
In the end, an old friend of mine and I decided to move to another apartment with two other friends we met at SMC, and the rest is history.
I have lived in this apartment since February, and it has been very enjoyable. From not knowing each other, we have developed into a family, and our bond strengthened to something no one can break.
After living in three different apartments, with over 20 roommates over the course of two years, I actually do not have that many bad experiences to share.
Sometimes the food vanished from the refrigerator, dirty dishes were always left in the sink, people borrowed each others' clothes and makeup and did not return it, while others smoked indoors.
Living with other people, especially college students, has taught me to be pickier when it comes to choosing roommates in the future.
It is understandable to choose the first person who is interested, when pressed for time trying to pay rent. But after a while, realization hits that it would have been better to check with several interested people, and then follow your gut feeling.
When it comes to choosing a roommate, Ibrahim said she feels it depends on what kind of person you are.
“If you feel that you have a hard time to get along with other people and rather be independent, then I recommend that you live by yourself or with no more than one person," she said. “But if you want to meet new people and like having people around you, then you should try to live with roommates.”
Having a roommate is something that many people will experience in their lives, typically during their college years. Everyone should live with a roommate at least once in their life.
It is essential to go into the experience open-minded. Trust your gut, make up house rules together at the beginning, and then follow them. Communicate, and give each other space.
Although eventually I would like to live by myself, I would never replace the experiences I have shared living with roommates. It has helped me mature and shaped me in to who I am today, while learning to cope and get along with different personalities.