I first arrived at ALA on the 3rd of September, 2014. When I came, the weather was too cold to bare, the campus had too much red and green for my eyes and my roommate had not yet arrived. At that time, I felt I was unlucky because there was no one to tell me how to go about life in ALA. There was no one to warn me about what I should run away from or advise me about what I should do. In the ALA prospectus, I read that the roommate relationship is usually one of the strongest ones formed at ALA. My hall mates had told me about how amazing my new roommate was and the amazing things that he could do. I was excited and nervous. I had never had to share a room before so it was all new to me. Even though I had not met him, I missed this roommate a lot and waited so dearly for him to arrive.
When he finally did arrive, my life changed. It felt like an arranged marriage, for better and for worse. I loved him in the mornings but hated him at night. With his friends over, discussing irrelevant things I would lay on my bed hoping to fall asleep in the midst of all the banter and laughter. We also had different tastes. I liked to clean after myself, and he liked to leave his coffee cup with a biscuit or two lying around on his desk. He didn’t like using laundry baskets, so our bedroom floor became a Golgotha of sorts. While I studied, he would laugh randomly at his laptop screen or shout at it. It was really annoying.
I soon discovered that I was not alone. Across the board, boys and girls complained, many times bitterly, about their roommates -at least, I had some comrades. Some people changed rooms, others decided to start sleeping in their friends’ rooms and we all began to settle into ALA and decided for ourselves how we wanted to live in this small space. For me, I chose to live with my roommate and practice “emotional intelligence” on a daily basis. It worked sometimes and other times, when it got too tough, I would run away to a friend of mine’s room for a day or two.
After nearly 9 months of living together, I have grown used to listening to my roommate’s laughter. He has finally learnt to turn the lights off after his late night hustle. I see him as a brother and share my victories and defeats with him. We have grown used to each other and learnt to love one another. As second years have slightly over 40 days left at ALA, a lot of emotions will begin to come up. It could be for a roommate or a friend. For people like me, it’s my roommate. Whatever we do, it will be important to tell the people we truly care about that we will miss them, before it is too late to do so.