College presents many challenges to the unsuspecting, innocent
applicant. We’re all expecting the usual tests – how much drinking
we can do and still maintain a respectable GPA, for example. It’s
the challenges we don’t expect that kick us swiftly in the groin,
challenges like getting along with our roommates.
Sure, this isn’t a problem for most people. Statistically,
you’re likely to stick with your roommate through the whole year.
But during that time a roomie may drive you nuts. It turns out that
a lot of people, when filling out those little roommate selection
surveys, forgot to mention their rampant kleptomania or, worse yet,
their obsession with N’Sync.
A lot of people just take a “live and let live” policy of
tolerance towards their roommate’s eccentricities. These people are
Let’s say your roommate is playing some wretched song that makes
your teeth grate, your eyes roll back in your head and your mouth
froth. First, get a rabies shot. Then we can take care of the music
problem. Your goal here is to make the music as annoying for your
roommate as it is for you. To do this, wait until you’re alone in
the room and pour a box of Rice Krispies just behind the speaker’s
cover. This will make a fine, static noise that makes any boy band
sound like the monsters they really are.
And sometimes there are problems that just can’t be helped, like
if your roommate has an early class on the day you’ve scheduled to
sleep in. Clearly in a situation like this, the blame can’t fall on
anyone, except of course for your stupid roommate, whose stupid
alarm clock wakes you up every stupid time. There are many fair and
equitable solutions for this problem such as a quieter alarm
Obviously, you can muck with the alarm, and set it for a time
you’d rather wake up. But that’s tamper-evident. You want something
totally untraceable and brilliant. For my next trick, you’ll need a
stockpile of clocks. It’s expensive, but don’t worry, you can
return them once you’re done. Every day, just before roomie wakes
up, switch the current clock with a fresh one. If it’s a black
clock, replace it with a dark grey one. Then the next day with a
lighter grey. Eventually, doing this, you can even replace a normal
black clock with something that can’t wake you up, such as a
toaster. Burned fingers are a small price to pay for continued
And of course there’s the problem of “overnight guests.” Sure,
it’s your room, but you don’t mind, because your roommate is some
day going to return the favor, right? Wrong! The night you want the
room to yourself, your roommate will have selfishly scheduled a
test. And this act of spite must be preemptively punished.
The best way to do this is with three simple words, “Party. My
room.” These words spread faster than a lot of diseases, and are
even harder to get rid of. There is no better mood killer than a
bunch of random drunkards invading, raiding the fridge and crashing
on the couch. Just make sure to shrink-wrap all your stuff before
According to the Hall Assignment Offices, you are statistically
likely to stay with your roommate for both semesters of your stay
in the dorms. But please, don’t let open dialogue and clear
communication with your roommate turn you into a statistic. Follow
this great advice and you’ll soon have a room all to yourself and a
comfy white jacket to keep you warm at night.
Mr. Kastner is a sophomore studying English. His column runs
biweekly on Wednesdays.