Like many students at ACU, I grew up in a household where I was fortunate enough to have my own room, but things changed when I came to college.
Freshman year we are introduced to a completely new atmosphere, especially in regard to our living space. I moved into Mabee Hall in August of 2014. Back then, we didn’t have what all of the undergrads call Wildcat Week, we had Welcome Week, Walling Lecture Hall was attached to what was called the Foster Science building and Aramark was running the Bean. Honestly, the Bean is such a blessing no matter who is catering, but that is a story in its own. What was still the same, however, was the size of the rooms in Mabee.
For those of you who don’t know, the average size of the room is 16X12 feet. I, like many freshmen, was coming into a small, shared bedroom from an environment where I had a larger bedroom all to myself. There were things I had to learn really quick in order to adapt to this new living space with someone who was practically a stranger.
That first year in my dorm was not my best year as a roommate. I was fairly distant or aloof, avoiding the room. My roommate and I got along, but we more or less just lived in the same room rather than interacted as brothers in Christ.
For those of you who are still in the dorms, especially those who have roommates with whom you are not best friends, learn from my experience. Go beyond being livable and be the friend, be the best example you can be of Christ in your roommate’s life. Hopefully, by being present you’ll see Christ in them.
Since freshman year, I have obviously changed with how I live with others. Sophomore year, I had a roommate who was in the ‘rival’ club to mine, yet we would go to church, small group and even camp together. I would say I was learning to be a better roommate and friend. I realized it is more than just living in the same space together but relying on one another and growing in knowledge, wisdom and faith together.
As an upperclassman, and now as a grad student, I have lived in houses with more than just one other person. More people add more characteristics you have to learn to live within more ways than one. Each roommate I have had, and even those I currently have for that matter, have different life backgrounds than I. Because of these roommates, our conflicts and our similarities have continued to be pushed to grow as a person.
As a grad student, I now share a room smaller than my freshman dorm room. Only 3 weeks into the semester and I feel like I know him better than my first roommate.
Take this to heart. If you have a roommate you live with right now, realize now that you can do more than just live with a person. Ask about their day, learn about the things that challenge them. Encourage them to grow. And if they take the last little bit of your milk just before you eat breakfast, don’t yell at them. It’ll be okay.