Well it is officially 10:09 pm of Thursday May 17, 2012. My sophomore year of college is officially over. According to me, it ended exactly as I walked out of the condo which I have been living in for the past sophomore year on the weekdays. The time I walked out and got onto the car, I made a note of it. It was 7:31 pm. This time has a special meaning for me. It marks the end of not just my sophomore year, but a year filled with emotions of major annoyance, regret, and feelings of being different than others my age. As of last year, the end of freshman year, I ended the school year with the decision that I would room with two other male nursing acquaintances. I knew these guys by name and from the few times we interacted during freshman year- my brother interacted more with them freshman year than I did as they were in the same class. I perceived them to be nice people, nothing to worry about. When I told my mom about my decision to share an apartment with two other nursing students, she specifically asked me if these guys were good students or party guys. I told my mom, “look, they are nursing students. I don’t think you can get into nursing school if you had bad grades.” That’s all I thought about it. I didn’t imagine there would be any problems, any hidden feelings of resentment and annoyance that would fester from an under-looked decision.
I reached my threshold with the level of noise my two roommates and company were making several times throughout the year. I wrote an email to the landlady who is actually one of my roommates’ cousins. This following email took me more than an hour and a half to carefully express how I felt. I wanted the landlady to completely understand my position. Here’s the email I sent on Thursday January 26, 2012 at 4:31 pm:
There is a situation at the apartment that has been bothering my brother and I for several months now. I feel like our lifestyle with Ron and Josiah are not very compatible and it's not working. They bring their friends to the apartment almost every night and they stay up late making too much noise. I understand that they like to have their friends around, and I'm not against them doing that. They seem to really enjoy spending time together with their friends but it has gotten to the point that I constantly feel they are being too loud too late at night even though my brother and I have classes early next morning, and they may have classes early next morning as well. I talked to Ron and Josiah individually last semester about not being able to fall asleep because of the noise level and we reached a verbal agreement that they would have their friends leave the apartment by 12 am. For the next few weeks things improved but as of late last semester and this week of this new semester, it has been getting out of hand again. They are talking and laughing past 12 in the morning and I feel like I need to move out.
I feel like if I talk to them again about keeping it down, they will tone it down for a couple weeks only to gradually start returning back to their original habits. In a way I would like them to have as much social time as they would like. I don't think it is fair that they should have to hang out less than they want just because my brother and I are living there as well. But at the same time, my sleeping habits have been disturbed and i feel like i don't have any privacy in the apartment besides my own room. At night, when i am in the apartment and leave my room, I constantly feel I can't even have a quiet apartment to study. For the last semester I have been constantly going to the library to study until late at night and don't return until I feel like they have gone to bed. I don't study in my room because the walls are not very sound proof and when they have friends over, the tv is constantly on and their voices are too loud. With the extra load and difficulty of this semester's classes, I feel like I really need to move out or my grades will also take a hit.
In hindsight, if I had a chance to redo this decision I probably would not have roomed with them. Don't get me wrong, I don't think they are bad people who are trying to sabotage my grades by making the apartment noisy. Not at all. I think they both have a warm and compassionate heart that will make them great nurses and it's something I like and respect about them, but the constant stress of always worrying about trying to get the peace and quiet I need has reached its threshold. I would really like to move out and find my own place.
I understand that you do not like having the leases broken and would try to do as much as you can to persuade us to stay at the apartment. I understand that we have a business type relationship and that money is important to you. Money is important to me as well, which is why I am working hard in this expensive school to get the best grades I can. We both can reach an agreement on that, which is why for my well-being and my grades, I need to move out. I do feel bad that our relationship may have to end like this. I hope you can understand my position. When can we get together to discuss the appropriate actions that need to be taken?
To achieving all your dreams and goals,
After our talk with the landlady, we came to the agreement that their friends would leave by 12 and no later. Deep down, there were other things that were bothering me, but I knew the landlady would not be able to help because one, what I needed would be unreasonable for my roommates and two, were my own issues that I suffer from. I was tired of constantly having people in my sanctuary, period. I despised every time I got out of class, my roommates and their friends were in the condo making noise. Now some people may say, “why don’t you just go join the party? Com’ on, don’t be so antisocial.” This is one thing I’ve come to learn about myself this year. I am an introvert. Prior to this year, I did not know the difference between introversion and shyness. Discovering the qualities and tendencies of introverted individuals explained a gold mine of social peculiarities I thought were strange and unique to myself. For someone unfamiliar of the introversion, extroversion dichotomy, he may ask, “what does your personality have to do with going over there and talking to your ‘friends’?” Well, the fact is that for me and many other introverted individuals out there, we tend to be listeners more than talkers. We listen to thoughts and ideas brought up and then we contribute through our insight. In group conversations where the tempo is dictated by those who can talk fastest, listeners and those who aren’t talking their mouths off tend to be quickly ignored. Second, the conversations extroverted individuals converse in lack depth. Extroverted individuals value variety where introverted individuals value depth. Introverts tend to love deep topics that explore someone’s intimate thoughts and feelings. Introverts love to dissect and understand what is going on in the other person’s head, aka their thoughts and feelings, their life stories, dreams, failures, pains, and topics that require thinking and reflection of oneself. Extroverted individuals tend to be under-stimulated by these types of topics just as an introvert is more likely to show a lack of interest in topics without much depth.
Because of these two reasons, I never involved myself in their group socialization. Of course there are other reasons as well. Although I have become more confident in my abilities in social situations, I find myself feeling anxiety when imagining myself approach a group of people I’m not too familiar with or when I attempt to fit in by discussing a topic lacking depth and filled with snide comments and vulgar humor. My shy tendencies when it comes to group interactions did play some part in my refusal to join their socialization. I have noticed that when it comes to one on one interactions, my confidence in myself to handle and steer the conversation boosts. This is a result of naturally enjoying one on one conversations as these conversations allow for more thinking, depth, and quietness, which is perfect for the more introverted individual. As a result of increased experience socializing one on one, and positive feedback, I am confident that if I created the opportunity to talk to people one on one, I would be able to steer the conversation in a manner that is comfortable and interesting for me. Obviously this has to do with their level of introversion as well though. Some extroverts are not only loud, but they are arrogant. They use their outspoken abilities to tease other people and raise their own statuses. Most likely, they are just teasing out of humor, but I feel that their cocky humor can really anger people who don’t know them that well.
Throughout the entire sophomore year, I did not once hang out with my roommates and their friends (who are male nursing students as well). I never went out of my room to join the superficial conversation. Over time and many weeks of saying the basic “hi or what’s up” to each other, my relationship with them felt awkward. When I was in my room with the door closed, thoughts would often race through my mind. Self-degrading thoughts and laughs behind my back. Thoughts of, “this guy is so antisocial and shy!” plagued my mind and to be honest bothered me to the point where for the majority of the year, I found myself planning my schedule of going back to the condo to eat between classes, study breaks, and working out all so I could avoid them and see them the least. As one can see, it became a vicious cycle. The more I avoided them purposefully, the more in my mind, I felt awkward and this developed a strain on our relationship.
My decision of choosing to fit my day around their schedule to get quiet time made me tense and self-conscious every time I knew that my roommates and company would be back soon. There have been countless times, where I would be doing work on a Tuesday night preparing for clinical early next morning, thinking just how much longer I would have before my roommates would stomp in and break the silence. This very thought deep down fueled the small fire of dislike I began to gradually hold against them. The thought that I would not even be able to have uninterrupted time to myself without having to worry about when these guys are going to come in and ruin my quiet time scared me. Many times I could hear them talking, laughing, and stomping their way up the stairs as soon as they entered the lobby. The position of my room did not help either as my room was directly above the lobby. Their loud voices and uninhibited laughter reminiscent of an on-the-spot joke that echoes off the walls of the room tightened my back and neck muscles. There were times when I had to consciously relax my back and neck muscles after realizing how tense they were. The truth is, I felt intimidated by the two guys my roommates brought over. Their personalities were both loud and extroverted. The way they dressed, indicated to me that they were more focused on looking good than studying and doing their best in nursing. All these indicators of their underlying goals and desires only furthered how different I felt from them.
Now that sophomore year is over, I realize that I desire my own sanctuary of peace and quiet. My roommates and company were not bad people. It’s not their fault that their personality seems different from mine. It was because they interrupted my quiet time that I felt annoyed and dislike towards them. It was because I constantly felt as if I was different than many individuals of extroverted America that I felt that there was something wrong with me. I felt shy, nervous, out of place, and different every time I had to be in their vicinity.
Summer is now here. I was supposed to post this days ago. It is now Monday the 21st . The past few days were fun when I played ball and dominated against my fellow basketball acquaintances and friends. Other moments have been filled with watching Miami heat games against the Pacers which have been entertaining to watch although as a fan, I have felt frustrated at Lebron and Wade more than feeling happy to watch them play.
David doesn’t have enough money for us to pursue rock climbing. The question comes to mind of how those who didn’t have someone to mentor them learned to rock climb. The rock climbing classes are expensive, and we don’t know how much we will be able to learn just by taking an 8 hour private class. It seems like finding people to learn rock climbing/ mountaineering from is quite essential to one’s learning. This also relates to the idea I read in Brian Kim’s 3rd issue of Natural Burning Desire Subscription that it is necessary to talk to other people to create that burning desire to develop from a level C life to a level B life. It sure feels frustrating when I don’t know how I will pursue this hobby. Perhaps I shouldn’t even pursue this hobby right now since I will have to go back to college in about three months and since I also have to take community college class over the summer as well. Again, it sucks to be able to finally have the time to do what I want, but not have the resources- a car of my own that I can drive without permission- or money to do it. The great ones always say that these are just excuses. Perhaps they are excuses. Perhaps I should befriend someone I see rock climbing and ask them if they are willing to teach me rock climbing at a cheaper fee than these classes I see online that charge about $100 for a public afternoon class that will allow me to climb so little for what I pay. Perhaps this money is needed to be spent.
Will this summer be another break that was spent only wishing I was doing something exciting? It will be up to me to see a change through.
I want to conclude with a motivational and inspirational quote from Brian Kim:
“If comfort is the ultimate goal, you're screwed. It's funny because so many people have that as the goal, thinking that will be what's best for them. But it's really not. Challenge is the best for us in life. We don't want things to be too easy or too challenging but somewhere in the middle where it engages us, brings out the best in us, gets us to think of new ideas, to create, to progress, to learn. That's where the zest of life is.
Not being in comfort 24/7. So many things in life are paradoxical. This is definitely one of those cases.”
- Brian Kim’s MIT of May 21, 2012