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Roommates are ________.

December 5, 2010

Chinwe Okona ’13

Before I had even decided where I was going to college, I had determined there was no way I was going to have a roommate. To me, my room has always been my haven, my sacred place. As the oldest and only girl, I've always had my own space and have always taken for granted the ability to close the door and shut out the world. Yes, college was about to be the best thing that ever happened to me but there's no way I was about to give that up.

So I was pretty much set on requesting a single, but Oberlin has these phenomenal things called divided doubles. One room, two people, two doors. Two separate rooms within a room. Doubled and divided. The idea of being able to choose when I wanted to be a hermit and when I wanted to be social seemed like the perfect living arrangement. I never stopped being skeptical about sharing a living space, but my mom convinced me to suck it up and at least try not to be a hermit, especially my freshman year.

Like most freshmen, my roommate selection was completely random, with the exception of the fact that I requested to be with another female athlete (who was on a different sports team than myself). When I finally got my room assignment, I have to admit I immediately went to Facebook. Unfortunately, my roommate-to-be hardly had a revealing thing on her profile so I was left to wait and wonder.

Because of volleyball, I moved into my dorm room two weeks before the rest of the first-years arrived. These were probably two of the loneliest weeks I've experienced in my life thus far. I'm pretty sure I started to count down the days until I would be sharing my living space. Never thought that would be me. Never ever.

The day Megan moved in, I'm pretty sure I saw her for five minutes the entire day. I was running around all crazy, doing volleyball and orientation stuff and she was running around all crazy, doing...well, I have no idea. My five-minute assessment was that she was short, not inadvertently shy, pretty cute, and had tiny feet. I decided she wasn't crazy that night and breathed a very large sigh of relief before falling asleep. (I think she slept at the hotel with her mother that night. I TRULY only saw her for five minutes.)

The next few weeks are fuzzy. I don't remember the first time we talked about things deeper than Oberlin, I don't remember the first time we laughed together, nor do I remember the first time we hung out together outside of our room. It's more like I remember a big jumble of a really good moments, with no specific times or places, just us being super awesome together.

All of a sudden we were friends, best friends. Initially that was really weird for me because as close as I've been with people, I've never had a 'best friend.' And never have I been so close with someone so quite the opposite of me. To put it simply, she's completely west coast and I'm infatuated with the east coast. She's all about the Pacific and the perks of public transportation, and I thrive on the Atlantic and secretly love expensive cars. She's all 'Haight-Ashbury' and I'm very 'South Beach.' I guess you could say she's Tupac and I'm Biggie, but it works for us here in Oberlin in this 'we know nothing about the Midwest and really hate snow' kind of way.

What I've found most important to me in this friendship (as well as my other friendships) is having 'someone.' College is a world away from home and as much as you think you don't need anyone, you're wrong. I've learned that it's okay to sometimes depend on others, especially your friends. As much as I pride myself on being independent, there are points in the semesters past where I know I would have just given up if my friends hadn't been there to talk some sense into me. And although I have that in many friends here, I've come to realize that the comfort of 'someone' is something I'm okay with having in my haven.

It's now sophomore year, we're still rooming together (and still in a divided double) and although we're human, it just keeps getting better. We may laugh, we may cry, we may even fight, but we're hermits...together.


Dear Megan,

I know you're reading this. I'm going to tell you a story. Today when I was in the shower, I accidentally pulled off the shower head and got a facial with what felt like a fire hose. I wanted to tell you, but you were sleeping ever so peacefully that I couldn't wake you. Your feet are tiny.



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