Roommate draw the first step in life

By Mike Linn

More than 100 Portales High School students graduated on Friday. Many look forward to college, four years of eating cheap pizza, participating in late-night study sessions and embracing the college social scene like a farmer does rain in the drought-riddled plains of eastern New Mexico.
For some, the transition can be trying: homework assignments that take days and even weeks to complete; moving into dormitories with virtual strangers; and freshmen guys getting snubbed by their female classmates for juniors and seniors.
Memo to incoming freshmen guys: Don’t dump your high school sweethearts just yet. And if you have any perceived notions about being a ladies’ man at the university your freshmen year, don’t be surprised if you’ll be spending your weekends in front of the television, eating cold pizza and wondering why the girl who chased you in high school suddenly forgot your name and is dating a frat boy majoring in Tequila consumption and bar room brawls.
It’s all a part of the freshmen experience — as is the roommate draw. Some freshmen will become best friends with their first-year roommates, others will be thrust into a living situation for which no crisis management class could ever prepare them.
In all my years of college I had six roommates, and one to this day is a close friend. Two were maniacs that I almost came to blows with on more than a few occasions. One was a multi-millionaire who wooed his teachers with expensive bottles of wine and faxed in his homework from his beach house 400 miles away. He once asked me to drive his new BMW back to Sarasota, Fla., during the Thanksgiving holidays while he drove his second car. He then flew me in his private jet to my home in Jacksonville. He was a good guy and valued — or at least asked — for my opinion on various matters. (He once asked me my advice on how much he should spend on an island he wanted to purchase in the Caribbean). He was however somewhat crazy, and once even scared off late-night party people in our dormitory by waving his .22-caliber pistol in the hall and saying, “It’s bed time ladies and gentlemen.”
So the roommate draw is basically a crap shoot, sometimes you hit the jackpot, other times you have to cut your financial losses and move out. Either that or take your chances that one year with this roommate won’t create violent tensions that will escalate from arguments to all-out dorm-room altercates, complete with next-door odds makers scheduling fight club meetings at the laundry mat.
Freshmen in college learn more in one year about transition than any other year in life. It’s the game of change, and it takes a good two semesters to learn how to play.

Mike Linn is managing editor for the Portales News-Tribune. He can be contacted at 356-4483, ext. 33. His e-mail address is:
mike_linn@link.freedom.com