The ideal roommate

My ad reads as follows:

“25-year-old female student looking for a room(mate) for the period September 1, 2014 – May 15, 2015. I am friendly, quiet, and tidy. I plan on focusing most of my time on my studies, and on exploring the country”.


I am looking for a roommate, a sane individual who has boundaries and respects those of others. I expect honesty. I do not want drama.

The ideal roommate would, first and foremost, know when not to meddle in her roommates’ business. Boundaries are important.

The ideal roommate would be a creative person who would sometimes watch Woody Allen or Wes Anderson movies with me, drink wine/cider/whatever and be fun to chat with.

The ideal roommate would keep her religious beliefs to herself. The ideal roommate would not guilt me into letting her borrow my clothes or shoes all the time.

The ideal roommate would not be passive aggressive if I’ve forgotten to wash the dishes. I will gladly take a friendly reminder, though. I tend to be a bit absent-minded when it comes to noticing some things. Talk to me on time, don’t bottle in any emotions, and, above all, be honest.

The ideal roommate would never forget that she has her own life and I my own. We are just temporarily sharing a flat together, we don’t need to become best friends. If we do – even better but forcing it never works out.

The ideal roommate would value silence, especially in that terrifying morning period before I’ve had the chance to take a sip from my coffee.

 

The inspiring Captain Janeway.  Gif from: http://startrekgifs.tumblr.com

At the end of the day, noone is perfect. We set our standards so high that we end up being let down. What is truly disappointing is that the fault is in us, in our own expectations. It is a disheartening thing to realize but it is true. I have found that lowering my expectations a bit goes a long way. Maybe it can help you too. If not, coffee always helps. It really does.

stream of consciousness

Following the assignment of the writing 101 blog.

I have to write a practice essay tomorrow on the topic of gender equality. I do not know the more specific topic of the essay and I need to prepare for a myriad of possibilities. Perhaps, I’ll have to write about gender in the workplace – what are the roles both sexes have as part of today’s workforce. I could introduce s short statistic, stating that men make the majority at the top and the bottom, while women rule over the middle grounds. I need to check the source first, so that it will sound believable.

Writing for 20 minutes without a stop is hard, I don’t think I can motivate myself to do it unless there is some external factor – tomorrow I will have to do it. The factor – a teacher standing in front of me. I will have 90 minutes to write an essay of roughly 500 words. But writing ‘offline’ on paper is becoming more and more of a challenge for me. I am used to writing on a keyboard to such an extent that my hand has forgotten some of the movements it had previously made to allow me to write better, visually at least. My handwriting has become worse than that of a doctor. And this is saying a lot. I myself have a hard time understanding my own notes. A year ago I began taking notes on my laptop, so that I can ensure the readability of my notes and so that I can increase the amount of information I get from the lecturer. This has further decreased my ability to write with my hand. The consequences are severe. I have gotten terribly used to MS Word and now expect an indication of a misspelled word. Alas, paper can offer no such amenities. Online dictionaries and thesaurus websites are incredibly helpful when I need a better synonym or the exact meaning of a word, but in class I’ll have to use a monolingual dictionary. A dictionary. A DICTIONARY. So much time will be spent on trying to find the word, that if I put this time together, I could, at the very least, earn a quick coffee break.

My mind is blank. I sometimes wonder if this is what meditation feels like. Probably not. Mentioning the coffee break has made me crave some afternoon coffee before my lecture on Canadian history. I will get a cup of hot, black coffee and a cookie. I hope they have the ones with almost no sugar and oat meal. I like oat meal with coffee and a nice book. The book I have with me now is a great one, by Philip K. Dick. I have to read it for a literature seminar which has resulted in a plummeting of my desire to ever finish reading it. I want someone to come to me with a book recommendation. But it has to be inspiring. The recommendation, that is. I want to really want to read the book. Preferably with character(s) who do not annoy me. I want to read about the life of someone who is struggling to find his path: someone who may be traveling, or who is stuck in a place, in time, with people and needs to overcome it and set himself free. I want to read about Ireland, or Scotland, or the southern states of America. I want the character to drink a lot, maybe do some writing as well. Waste their days with sleeping, drinking coffee and reading, and their nights in bars, drinking whiskey, or wine, watching the people around him and thinking about what their lives may be like.

I am going to go buy coffee and sit on the stone bench outside. I will pretend I’m reading Dick’s book on androids but in reality I will be watching the students rushing off to lectures, riding their bikes and meeting their friends for coffee. Right now, this book is more interesting than anything else.

I can already smell the coffee.

the life of a so-called student

 

Image

We humans are cognitive misers and as such we love to take bits of randomly heard information and apply it to a whole group. It’s just easier this way. As a result of this human tendency, I have frequently been informed that university students have it easy – parties, a lecture here and there, where said student can snooze and dream of more parties, hanging out with buddies, drinking, a few weeks of hard studying followed by exams and then – time to rest. Sure, there are the stories of poor students who eat leftovers, have no money to go to restaurants and often go to their parents’ house to get their bellies full of homecooked meals. But why are those students poor? In the stories I’m being told they save money so they can go out and party some more. Or travel – partying out of town is so in. Also, none of them have jobs.

* Writing this I get frustrated that I am now doing exactly what those people are/ have been doing – I am generalizing about people who generalize. It’s a vicious circle. However, I am resolute to continue writing and publishing posts regardless of how much my writing annoys me. Bare with me*

Here is my take on the topic:

Students do not party all the time.

Students may go out and have fun more than older, married people do but that’s just because many of us are:

a) younger and thus in possession of a larger amount of energy

b) do not have kids to take care of

c) do not have a 9-to-5 job to stand up for early 5 days a week.

This statement is, however, being redefined all the time, as there are many students who have families of their own and the majority of students, at least here in Germany, have a job. The old days (I’ve never personally experienced them, so I can only guess) of being a student, living in a dorm, only studying and having fun and the money comes from the parent/scholarship-providing body, are over. And nothing points to them ever coming back.

In order to maintain a fairly decent lifestyle everyone needs at least one small part-time job, if not several. Many tend to do a variety of small things – tutoring, student help at the library, cleaning jobs at hotels, service jobs at supermarkets or restaurants, helping out at festivals, conferences, babysitting, pet-sitting, donating blood plasma etc. The list is almost literally endless. But just almost because there is an end to every list, even the literally endless ones can end if the one writing gets lazy.

Everyone who is quick to denounce all students as lazy young adults who frivolously spend their parents’ hard-earned money needs to know that we come in all shapes and sizes. For every slacker, there is a hard-working political science student who gives French lessons in her free time. And for every over-achieving medicine student who has no time for anything but his studies, there is a motivated philosophy graduate who works part-time as a waiter to co-support his new family. Here, the list may actually have no end because every single student has a different story and no two stories are alike.

Let me leave you with a photo of students who are sitting around on a work day, just for fun. Because that’s what being a student both is and isn’t all about.