Campus Living

Five Reasons Why You Should Have a Roommate: What Your Roommates Could Become!
by Kakada Kuy

Fall semester is approaching, and incoming students are looking for housing. This time of year, I remember, was when I had to make up my mind whether or not I needed a roommate or roommates. First, I imagined myself being independent and care-free, not thinking about having to deal with people bothering me. I was also thinking about having space to stay focused for my study. I might also gain some life skills that could only be gained through being independent and doing anything by myself. However, I had to consider having roommates because I could not afford the rent on my own. Having a roommate or two helps immensely with the cost-sharing because every expense (gas, electricity, the Internet, the rent, and so on) is split, and, most important of all, I could even save money. This initially convinced me of the benefits of sharing housing, and the reasons why I should have roommates. I forgot about my privacy and gave it shot: sharing a space with not just one roommate, but two.

I totally understand there are other drawbacks, you, readers and housing seekers, have thought about; however, right now, let us examine reasons why the advantages of having roommates outweigh the anticipated drawbacks. Among many rationales of sharing living space with others, I would like to share with you five of them, and what your roommates could become.

1. They could be your personal doctor/nurse
We never know when we are going to be sick, but it must be no good to be sick alone. Having two roommates myself, I totally understood this importance when I got an earache. Back then, I could not imagine being without the help of my roommates. Prescribed to use eardrops, I needed one of them to put it in the ear for me. This job could be done alone, but I did not want to waste any drop of that $160 medication.

2. They could be your money-saver
In this constantly changing world, we all are getting busier and busier due to our own personal businesses, studies, and other issues in love, life and work in general. As students, we have more things on this list: classes, assignments, group meetings, required seminars and workshops, and a few more you can think of. It is busy to be a student, and, of course, we do sometimes forget things. It could be that we did not turn off the light and air conditioning (or heater in the winter); the refrigerator door is not closed properly; the door is not locked when it is supposed to be; water faucets are not fully turned off; or gas is still coming out when we thought it was not (and, for this last one, we never ever want it to happen). Of course, all of these things can waste money (or even life, to make it sound extreme). Personally, I do not even remember how many times I did not turn off the air conditioner and fully close the refrigerator door. How absentminded I was, you might be thinking, but it is possible that this could also happen to you. It was my roommates who turned off things after me, and this saved me money.

3. They could be your Mr./Ms. Know-It-All
No one knows or understands everything. I study Social Work, but my roommates study Public Health Science. They took biostatistics, and they know statistics really well. I also know it, but I needed extra help, and now a helping hand is at hand. I cannot emphasize enough how I have learned stats from my roommates. It was an immense assistance because I needed help in the middle of the night just to finish my Research Methods homework, for example, and they were there for me. The point I am making here is: we can learn and receive academic (or other) help from our roommates when we really need it.

4. They could be your reminder
In this technological age, we can receive electronic reminders for everything from calendar alerts to book return reminders; however, we still might need human reminders. No fewer than five times did I still not complete things on time with a reminder on my phone that stays with me 18 hours per day, but, fortunately enough, I asked my roommate to remind me of things I might forget, such as picking up clothes from the laundry and dryer. Well, I can set a timer on the phone, but sometimes procrastination just comes in and makes me watch a few more YouTube videos or finish a book chapter. But when a person reminds me, I do not pause but get down to do the reminded things! There might be a psychology trick in that, but I have not looked into it yet. So, if you have a roommate, you have a reminder.

5. Your roommates could be your personal consultants
I believe in one human behavior theory I learned in my undergrad studies, and I quote, “We need someone to listen to us because we are humans.” I am convinced that I always need someone to talk to. I am the kind of person who does not like to be alone because loneliness makes my brain shut down. However, I do acknowledge that we all need independence, but what I am trying to point out is that, once in a while, we will need a person to consult with. I do not expect them to understand my issues (or they might make bad things worse), but the feeling of having someone who can listen to me is better than the feeling of holding it back.

BONUS POINT: They could be your door openers. (Of course, you’re right! I am talking about that one time you lost or forgot your key.)
That one time also could be when you stay outside and then Google a nearby locksmith, and I know everyone does not want that to occur. But if you have roommates, you can ring them and ask them to open the door for you.

FINAL BONUS POINT: And you might not miss your package from the mail again because your roommate could be the package deliverer when they are around and you are not!

Kakada Kuy, an international student from Cambodia, is currently pursuing a Masters degree at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis.