Getting to Know You: New Suitemates Make My Summer Worthwhile


Although we may not always attain our initial aspirations, supporitve communites often indirectly result from our efforts. (Darryl Yu/The Observer)


(Darryl Yu/The Observer)

I’ve lived in McMahon Hall for three years now. For two of those three years, I have lived with the same group of girls, give or take one or two switcharoos. I’ve grown very comfortable with them, and after the hell that was freshman year, I’ve always been grateful to have found this group to live with. So when I decided to live in McMahon for the summer, I was anxious about the prospect of having to get used to living with five new strangers again. What if they had never experienced life without a dishwasher before, were just plain annoying or didn’t let me watch “Pretty Little Liars” on Tuesday nights?

My own attitude was also a problem. I’d decided I didn’t need to meet new people. I already had a great group of friends at Fordham, and since I’d be interning all week and going away most weekends, I didn’t think I’d really be missing the company. Of course I’d be nice when my new roommates arrived, but I wouldn’t try overly hard to impress them or learn about them. After all, how much can people bond over two months in comparison to the friendships I’d formed with my suitemates after two years?

But eight weeks later, I’ve realized how wrong I was. Even if you only have a few weeks to get to know someone, that might be all the time you need. I know that for myself, I usually get carried away worrying how people will perceive me to truly be the real me at first. But if all you’ve got is eight weeks and after that you might never see each other again, then what’s the point of trying to be something you’re not?  I learned I didn’t have to form bonds that would last forever; I could just open myself up to new people.

Still, it took me about a month to get over myself and realize I had five great suitemates I could be getting to know. So when everyone moved in that first week of June, I shook hands, I smiled, and I told them where the best take-out places were, and I’d decided my job was done. All of the girls seemed nice enough, but I’ve learned how quickly people can grow to dislike each other if the living quarters aren’t exactly the most spacious. It wasn’t my job to become best friends with them. As long as I was cordial, I felt that was enough.

After a while, though, I noticed my suitemates hanging out and having fun together and I wondered why I wasn’t doing the same. Why was I pretending I was fine maintaining friendships via Facebook wall posts and random text messages? I had a room full of potential friendships I had been neglecting, and I was shocked that an anti-social butterfly like myself actually missed the human interaction. McMahon Hall was my home for the summer, and I was treating it like a hotel I checked in and out of.

I started slowly becoming a member of the apartment, watching “Real Housewives” with them and actually paying attention to what they had to say about their lives. Two of my suitemates were from Rose Hill, and the others were from colleges other than Fordham. It was fun getting to know the Rose Hill perspective of Lincoln Center, and I loved talking to the non-Fordham students, since they’d never lived in the city before and they made me more excited about exploring it during the summer.

I told them my favorite places in the city, and they told me what impressed them most about Manhattan and how it had surprised them. My one suitemate had particularly horrid experiences with random men on subway platforms asking for her number, including one who stole her phone and dialed his own number into it, as well as another suitemate who found herself elated beyond control about the fact that the “Harry Potter” premiere took place next door at Lincoln Center. I’ve been in the city for a while, and I’d forgotten how fun (and odd) it truly can be. My suitemates helped me see that.

While I’m angry with myself for not getting to know my suitemates sooner, I’m glad I changed my attitude before it was too late. I don’t know if we’ve formed lifelong bonds, per se, but they’ve made my summer experience about more than just improving my resume with some internships and more about challenging myself to meet new people. It turns out you don’t need to follow a certain timeline to form friendships. You just need an open mind and a willing heart.

Also, they are all now “Pretty Little Liars” fans. And I will never miss an episode of “Real Housewives of New Jersey” again. Thus, it’s clear we’ve all improved for the better.