Think back to your freshman year. Whatever your feelings were about it, if you lived on campus, I am certain you have some sort of roommate story. For most of us, these stories aren’t pleasant.
I remember being thrilled to befriend my roommates, in college and start my career. Unfortunately, I entered SVSU blind and had an absolutely horrible first-year roommate experience.
It was so negative, in fact, that four of the six roommates I originally had left. Then two of the replacements left. This year, I planned to room with all of my friends, but sadly, in July, we were all split up.
So, I was again faced with less than amazing roommates.
At each of these points, I asked myself, “Why can’t I just leave? I am an adult.”
I was confronted with the reality that I had signed a binding housing contract and was unable to leave housing to live off campus.
I could’ve opted to give up my individual room and live in a double efficiency or again move blindly into another space, but I chose to stick it out. Each time, my mental health suffered.
I don’t claim to have horrible mental health, but I know many of us struggle on a day-today basis to cope with college, let alone cope when our living environments are hostile.
Our RAs are wonderful and trained very well. However, the reality is that as much as they mediate and assist, they don’t live with you and can’t change people’s behavior patterns.
My past roommates have not all been horrible people, but they have done things to make it hard to live in the same space as them.
You might be thinking that these problems were purely me and my doing; even if they were, do I not have the right to walk away when I am upset?
Should we as young adults not have the right to leave if we are uncomfortable?
I should not have to drop out of SVSU, pay fines or provide documentation when I am simply unwell because of my living space.
I love SVSU, and I love living on campus, but I do not love feeling trapped.
If I had had the opportunity to leave my housing contract after my fall 2018 semester here, I would have and thus also would have drastically improved my grades, my involvements and so much more.
Instead, I had to stay and learn “grit,” “resilience” “good communication skills” and the ability to “deal.”
Couldn’t I have learned those things without crying every night because my roommates blared music until 3 a.m., dirtied everything I owned, screamed in my face and had strange men over?
I learned nothing from dealing other than to hide, to not be so particular about cleanliness and that not all people wanted to be my friends.
If SVSU considered allowing us to choose to leave our housing contracts, I am certain we would save so many people from telling their horror stories, but rather sharing why SVSU was the best experience of their lives.
I understand sometimes people will scheme the system, but as someone who knows humans do better with trust, we should be granted that sincerity.
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