This is my roommate, Jacob, and I. We live together in a single-turned-double in Whitman College, and this post is a brief reflection on our relationship.
To tell you the truth, when I filled out the housing application last summer, I was hoping for a single in a large suite with many other suite mates. I enjoy my personal space, but I thought having a group of suite mates would be an instant friend base, the best of both worlds. I never really reflected on the far more probable chances of ending up in a double. In fact, finding out over the summer about my room placement, I was confused about whether I had a roommate at all, since on a floor plan the room was labeled as a single (which it used to be).
Come move-in day, it turned out that I definitely had a roommate: Jacob crushed me in an unnerving bear hug that only a college offensive lineman can give. I say unnerving because I’m not usually physical with strangers, and the next few days quickly demonstrated how Jacob and I are at opposite ends on the spectrum of socially outgoing individuals.
Fortunately, there’s truth to the saying that “opposites attract,” maybe more appropriately with the caveat “some common ground helps out, too.” Jacob and I complement each other. Jacob invites anybody and everybody to sit and chat for a few minutes on his giant beanbag chair, so I talk to people I probably wouldn’t say hi to in the elevator. I sleep happily in the top bunk, he holds down the fort in the lower bunk. I’ll walk into the room and Jacob, a white Jewish kid from New York will be belting out hearty African American gospel music, “homework” for his favorite class this semester, African American Gospel Music (AAS 305), which in turn will spark a conversation about racism and privilege. On other days, Jacob will walk into the room as I, a white kid born Mexican and raised in Georgia, am absorbed in a reading by Marx for Radical Political Thought (POL 305), and then we’ll talk about the global exploitation of people and resources. Jacob jokes that I'm off-the-rocker radical, and I tease him for his soft spot for this song, but in reality, we've both come to learn and appreciate how much more there is to us than meets the eye.
In the next few days, the room draw starts for next year's accommodations. While living in a double is not without its quirks, I've come a far way from approaching having a roommate as "coping" to actually enjoying and appreciating the dynamic, and I'll definitely miss it next year from the solitude of what will hopefully be a single. So, wrapping up this post: Shout out to Jacob Cannon, role model to roommates everywhere and pretty much one of the friendliest people you'll ever meet!