Sunday, January 8, 2017

Life Skills I Learned from 7 College Roommates

Hye-jin (starting off in the dorms).
Julia and Kimberly (now I was in a three-person, one-bedroom apartment). 
Julia and Michelle #1. 
Michelle #1 and Michelle #2. 

7 roommates in three and a half years at Moody.

Yep, somehow, that's just how it worked out. Whether it was graduation or student teaching or extended internships, I strangely ended up having a total of 7 roommates throughout my college years.

In honor of all of them, here are 7 practical life skills, ranging from silly to serious, I learned from living with all very different people:

1. Hye-jin: You can fall asleep in any situation with enough practice.

Hye-jin is wonderful - she was a hard-working junior at Moody, the most dedicated to prayer and her friends, a good student, and kind. She was also Korean, and her fiancé was on the other side of the world. She stayed up late at night to talk with him, then would stay awake to do her homework, and catch up on sleep during the day. Our sleep schedules didn't line up very well (I'm not a night-owl!), so we ended up switching roommates in my second semester, but the valuable lesson of being able to get needed rest despite imperfect environments will stick with me!

Thank you, Hye-jin, for your patience with me, and for welcoming in a nervous freshman roommate. 

2. Beth: "Just do the next thing".

Beth was an Elementary Education major who had to work especially hard as a double major at Moody (El Ed and Bible are a difficult and demanding combination). She was excellent at keeping Elizabeth Elliot's phrase (from a poem) "Just do the next thing," in mind always. Beth was able to manage her workload, and never complained about what all had to get done. She quietly worked away and honored the Lord with her excellence and dedication.

Thank you, Beth, for your encouragement and humility in your schoolwork. 

3. Sam: You can steam-press your clothes using only a hot shower (WHAT).

When in a pinch, you can shut the door of your tiny dorm bathroom, turn the shower on hot, hang your clothes up (keeping them away from the stream of water), and they will be "like fresh" in just a few minutes! Sure, it's not the most economic use of water, but it does the job in a cinch if you're getting ready for a job interview.

Thank you, Sam, for bringing delight and fun into that semester we roomed together. 

4. Julia: Only wash a cast-iron skillet with water (not soap!).

Julia is from Texas. She seemed to know all the cleaning tricks for everything, and had a knack for homemaking. She invested into a cast-iron skillet while we were roommates, which was something I had never used before college. Julia gave me lessons on cleaning the skillet so that we could all use it (and subsequently clean it correctly!) in our tiny kitchen.

Thank you, Julia, for exhibiting kindness and joy in even the little things - like the excitement of a cast-iron skillet. 

5. Kimberly: When in doubt, listen.

I moved into The Little Byt with two roommates I hardly knew. Julia was an acquaintance from my previous dorm floor, and Kimberly was one of her best friends. They graciously took me in as their third roommate, and we all embarked on the adventure of getting to know each other in the confines of small spaces. Having only a semester together as roommates, and as friends, I learned to listen that fall. If I didn't take time to stop and actually have meaningful conversations with my roommate, and continued about my own business, I would have missed out on getting to know someone who has a lot to offer the world.

Thank you, Kimberly, for generously sharing your stories, and for offering friendship, even just for that one semester. 

6. Michelle #1: Put down the toilet seat cover. And on a more serious note... Give people the gift of eye contact.

Michelle spent the summer in Uganda serving alongside her sister in ministry this past summer. Her sister was adamant about them both closing the toilet seat cover because of airborne germs, so Michelle came back with those standards, and asked us roomies to make this a habit too. I should have been doing this long ago, but had never heard the argument why, so just hadn't made a point to be consistent! Ha! Now I am!

Ok, but really, Michelle taught me so much more, including the value of giving people the gift of eye contact. Giving someone your full attention makes them feel known and seen and loved. If you're communicating with someone you care about, do your best to truly give them your eyes. It's worth it.

Michelle #1, thank you for your deep conversations and your playful conversations; you are equally as caring as you are quick-witted (in all the right times).

7. Michelle #2: Be loyal, and be faithful in prayer.

Michelle joined the Little Byt in my very last semester at Moody. We had been friends since the first week of our Freshman year, and weekly prayer buddies since October that first semester. She is incredibly faithful as a friend and as a prayer warrior, and it was the greatest privilege to receive this kind of loyalty from her. I learned to give it back with consistency and intentionality. Again, it's worth it.

Michelle #2, thank you for the hours of morning prayer we shared (which then turned into evening prayers when we were roomies!), and for your constancy amidst life's uncertainties, twists and turns. 

To all my roommates: THANK YOU  for your patience, and for each being integral to what the Lord had in store for these years at Moody. It was an honor to get to know you all and live through everyday Moody life together. You all are amazing. 

1 comment:

  1. Claire! I loved this post! Beautifully written ( you have such a way with words!) but I also love how you acknowledged the different gifts you received from your many roommates. Love your happy, rejoicing, notice the small things ways!!!


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