Roommates. What are they exactly? People that you either choose or are forced to share a very cramped space with; or something much more? Living in the first year area, you’ll get to know everyone quite intimately fairly quickly because everyone lives within such close proximity to each other. You learn some things about each other that you probably don’t know about yourself. Being a Resident Advisor for a floor of first year students, sure I’ve seen squabbles go down, but I’ve also seen friendships and bonds form that will continue to bloom throughout their time at UNE and beyond.
Roommates have to be able to share and communicate in order to form such a bond. Getting to know each other and getting to know each others’ little quirks will go a long way, but the hardest part is leaving your comfort zone. For first year students, this is quite possibly their first time leaving the nest and experiencing the world on their own. From personal experience, this is a scary point in anyone’s life. No more Mom and Dad to come and check under the bed for monsters or to make sure all of your work is done.
Getting to know people may be a scary thing too, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Attempt to learn the hobbies of those around you; chances are that they are going to like similar things. Despite contrary belief, there are actually things to do on campus. You can:
- Go to the UNE Fitness Center. This is a good time to blow off some of the college jitters, get to know each other, and beat the dreaded “freshman fifteen”. Your roommate can be great motivation to keep you on a good schedule.
- Go to one of the many on campus events. The Activities Programming Board puts on weekly events which include movies, games, and live entertainment. Bring your roommate and enjoy a good flick or win some prizes for participating. Follow them on Twitter for updates on campus activities.\
- Take advantage of the box office. The box office located in the Campus Center offers discounted tickets to movies and sporting events. Also, they offer tickets to off campus activities as well. Rock climbing at the Maine Rock Gym and even Scuba Classes are some of the activities they offer free or at a discounted rate to students!
- Take a road trip. From experience, Biddeford may not be the most aesthetically pleasing town, but the surrounding area is. Take a ride down the highway, explore, and enjoy the “Way Life Should Be.”
- Hit up the Portland mall. There is a perfectly good mall within driving range with a lot of stuff to do. Nice food court, good shopping, and amazing people watching locations.
- Visit the Heart of Biddeford. Through this locally run organization, you and your roommates can learn about the historical background Biddeford and everything out area has to offer
Your roommates can be someone that you can share almost anything with, because at this point, you are more like family now. The bonds you make here and now, they will only get stronger as long as you learn to be honest and communicate. I have seen far too many friendships in my day go downhill because of the lack of communication. If you have an issue with them, sit them down and have a civil conversation to clear the air. If you need help doing this, seek out your RA! That is one of the many things that they are there to assist you with. It kills me on the inside to see two people who I know have such a great bond lose it for such petty arguments.
Michael Sang is currently a Senior, who expects to graduate at the end of this semester. He enjoys long walks on the beach and playing with kittens, but nothing more than to be with his residents. Making his debut appearance in the housing department this year, he has worked diligently with his first year girls, making sure that their transition into UNE has been comfortable for them. Along with the duties that come along with being an RA, he is an active member of the Biddeford community where he volunteers as both a mentor and at an after school program.