My roommates and I were fortunate enough to get the more spacious option of housing in our sophomore year. We got a suite that provided each of us with single. Within the little corners we would call our own, each of our personality was clearly splattered all over the walls and was revealing in the way our furniture was arranged. For instance, Indira’s room would emanate an inviting comfortableness with a mix of nonchalance by the way her things would be sparsely laid out throughout the room and the furniture that made the entrance of her room spacious and open; on the other hand, Sarah’s room would be just like a picture out of an interior design magazine page. All of her furniture were always kept pristine, wrinkle-less, and pictures were so perfectly and so symmetrically plastered on the wall.
Our living room was space filled with small trinkets from each of us – ranging from Yasmin’s plush blankets to my pillows to Indira’s room decorations. The sofa was the where we would reconvene after a long day and hash out our concerns. There, we would seek advices from each other, peer review each other’s essays, discuss pre-med plans, take naps on each other’s laps, and watch House of Cards while eating our late night snacks. Looking back, this holy space that served as the common thread amongst the four of us was an important part of a sense of belonging in the foreign environment we were all just beginning to get used to.
Some things we did successfully in order to maintain our healthy relationship despite sharing such an intimate space were communicating our values and setting guidelines that we could stick to within the borders of our Charles Commons suite. We had a whiteboard hung on the wall of our living where we marked where each of us were at and where each of us were going, just in case we had to contact each other during the day. In addition, we had rotating shifts for throwing out the trash, cleaning the bathroom, and doing the dishes. Most importantly, we respected each other’s privacy at night times or when guests were over.
Despite coming from different walks of life and being together for only 12 months, we achieved a place of safety where we would come back to to connect with each other, to understand one another, and to belong together.