March 10, 2023 | OPINION | By Zeke Lloyd
Nine roommates in two years – it’s been an adventure. And tomorrow, that number becomes 13. At the onset of senior year, it will peak at 16.
It’s a strange exercise, thinking about myself as someone else’s roommate. It makes me feel a little self-conscious. Even having lived with six different groups across six different houses, apartments, and dorms, I don’t think I’ve evolved into the best person to live with. With the number of roommates I’ve been through, you might even suspect I’m the worst person to live with.
But I have some figures which allow me to think I’m not, altogether, too awful. One current roommate, a friend who stopped living with me after our first semester of college, started cohabitating with me again after a three-semester interim. Another close friend, my roommate for four consecutive semesters at Colorado College, has shared a home with me for 80% of our time here. For 75% of that period, we shared a room.
But just to be sure I didn’t overlook unvoiced complaints from the past, I checked in. Reaching out to five people, a mix of current and former roommates, I asked them to describe some of our shared residential experiences.
“The new living situation has been super comical in a really good way,” said Pierce Hayton ’24, referring to the last month spent in our current six-person house off campus. “The house has become so much more lively, a lot more people in and out.” Hayton isn’t the only one who feels this way.
“It’s really fun to be here because I have many roommates who are often in the house at the same time I am,” said Luke Bleckman ’24. “However, this living situation is about the messiest it’s been since West Edge.”
Bleckman and I spent most of our first-ever on-campus semester living at West Edge Apartments. The two of us were originally together in Loomis Hall until CC kicked a large number of first years off campus roughly a month into the 2020-21 academic year. Bleckman and I then moved to an apartment with two other friends from Loomis. By the time we unpacked everything at our new home four miles north of campus, none of us had known each other for more than five weeks.
The place quickly became a mess. Questions about managing our forever-growing sink of unwashed dishes and keeping the counter top clean so that our Zoom backgrounds weren’t cluttered marked the first months of our friendships.
It forced us to undergo a familiar process for many CC students – camaraderie through cohabitation. It wasn’t long until we had open, honest, and productive conversations about how to keep the house running. We needed to. And soon, those conversations extended beyond dishes.
The same is true all these years later.
“It’s been an adjustment to live with totally new people all of a sudden but I’m so glad that I did it,” said Ian Johnson ’24, my roommate of two years. “Throwing myself into a new environment has brought me closer to people that I otherwise probably never would have connected with in a meaningful way.”
But it’s not just building close friendships through living with people, though. There is also a pattern.
I am a statistic between two extremes. I did not live with all nine roommates simultaneously nor did I spend nine semesters living with each of them individually. On the contrary, the average size of my living cohort is 3.0. By the time I graduate, it will have risen to 3.8.
And roommates tend not only to get along with me, but also the other people I lived with. On the table, each of my nine former roommates is labeled with the initials of a former Democratic President of the United States. Even so, it might not be hard for the people I’ve shared a home with to figure out their pseudonym.
Green areas indicate that the two people perpendicular to the highlighted cell lived with me at the same time and, accordingly, were close friends. That is, the members of that pair were roommates with each other as well as with me.
52% of the table is green. Which means 52% of my roommates, current and former, lived with me while I lived with another given roommate. That’s a lot of overlap.
51% of all nine were close friends with someone who was also one of my close friends. Moreover, of the nine, I developed a close friendship with eight only after we started living together.
So now here I am, a junior. For the last five weeks, I’ve lived in a double. Tomorrow, I move into a house with four friends of only a month.
Even having moved so many times, I still feel a little nervous. But I have no expectations. No two roommates have ever really been that similar.
One of the people I asked about our time living together chose to remain anonymous after describing our shared experiences with a single alliterative sentence consisting mostly of profanity. Meanwhile, a former roommate noticed me working through Excel sheets with familiar names and unabashedly asked, “Are you ranking your friends?”
No. I wasn’t ranking them. How could I? Candidly, what’s fun about looking back on the people I’ve lived with is that each has their own unique quirks and mannerisms. It’s pleasantly impossible to compare them. The three weeks I spent in Loomis with Max Landy ’24 can’t be measured against my current situation in an off-campus house with a medley of old friends and new faces.
I frequently think about all my roommates, past and present. I work to remember scenes from each place I’ve called home, replaying fond memories from different chapters of my residential history. I don’t want to forget any of them. After all, it’s always sad to leave one behind.
But all the same, I can’t wait to move in tomorrow. I’m excited for the next adventure.