The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

An ode to my college roommates

How seven girls changed the trajectory of my life
We+are+who+we+surround+ourselves+with%2C+so+make+them+count.+%0A
Photo by Claire Schoenemann
We are who we surround ourselves with, so make them count.

No matter who you listen to, nobody can predict precisely how the combination of planes, trains and automobiles will navigate you through college. One thing is sure, though. Your time pursuing your dreams will shape you into the person childhood you could only hope to be. 

On my first night at UW-Eau Claire, I found myself in my freshly decorated dorm room with a collection of new, friendly faces. Eclectic, almost. 

I was surrounded by a handful of familiar hometown faces, my roommate and an inter-webbed collection of friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friends that I would learn to know and love. 

What I didn’t know then was that almost every face in that room would touch my life in an unforgettable way. 

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College is an extremely nonlinear experience. I do not intend to sugarcoat my journey from Towers North Hall resident to my now joyous college house bursting at the seams with laughter. 

The punchline is that learning to be adults together is a formative experience. 

A month ago, one of my cherished roommates came up to my room to help me outfit plan for my long-awaited weekend plans. After raiding a total of three roommates’ closets, we drafted the perfect packing plan when she sat down on my bed and began to reminisce. 

Through mostly laughs and photo reminiscences, coupled with a few tears, my roommate and I landed on a long-awaited topic: the trials and tribulations of our big, happy family are far outweighed by the love we have for each other and the lessons learned inside these walls. 

This is my roommate and my second year living together. We reside in a “separated” duplex, where we mostly frolick between the living spaces and exist as what we call our one big, happy family. 

The reality is that we had to work quite hard to get to where we are now. 

But today, as I began un-decorating my room and preparing to move out of the walls that hold so much of myself, I couldn’t help but remember perfectly spacing the vinyl records that lined my bedroom walls almost two years ago. 

Planning to decorate an entire house with my best friends is an experience I will forever cherish. Without these seven women, I would not be who I am today. 

The laughter of us women being girls lives in the walls of our house. 

They have taught me to love, trust, care and take leaps more than I ever thought possible. 

Most importantly, I learned to make delicious stir fry (thank you, Olivia). 

The product of what I like to call your “in-between” adult years is different for every single person on the planet, even at UW-Eau Claire. This experience is meant to vary, and it is meant to make you think. 

Through the obstacles and tribulations of these “in-between” years, I have learned that no one ever knows what they’re doing. 

My favorite reminder comes from my grandpa, who now enjoys a well-deserved retirement. 

“I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up,” he said.

All of these tidbits are meant as comfort. The reality of it is that we are who we surround ourselves with. So, stop settling for that roommate with nothing positive to say about their day, and stop subjecting yourself to coursework you are bound to drown in. 

Find your people, no matter how long it takes. Follow your dreams, and truly don’t look back. Find the good in the world and you will find success. 

Schoenemann can be reached at [email protected]

 

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About the Contributor
Claire Schoenemann, Freelance Writer
Claire Schoenemann is a third-year geology and integrated strategic communication student and this is her fifth semester on The Spectator staff, but her first as the OP/ED Editor. When she's not reading or writing, she enjoys hiking and looking at rocks.

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