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Freshman 101: Where To Go When Your Roommate Hates You

Roommate problems have been a make-or-break aspect of one’s college experience for decades. The person you now share a shoebox of a room with could’ve been a random assignment or a close friend from the previous year, but their command of the home is suffocating.

Maybe you’re constantly getting sexiled or they are passive-aggressively throwing dirty looks your way. Or, in the worst cases, it’s multiple roommates making you feel unwelcome in the place you pay rent.

Obviously, you try to communicate and smooth things over, but nothing seems to change. Maybe your roommates don’t have your best interest in mind, or maybe they’re not mature enough to tell you what the problem is. Regardless, you’ve recently been finding yourself avoiding your house, aimlessly wandering campus looking for a place to relax.

Well luckily for you, Onward State has a list of 10 solutions for where to go.

Hangout At The HUB

An obvious choice, the HUB has a variety of locations and activities to keep you busy. Do you want to eat your feelings away? Get dinner at Panda Express, then grab dessert at Cow and Cookie. Need quiet time? Find solace in the upstairs study areas. Need something to do? There’s always an art exhibit or game of pool happening.

A highlight, in our opinion, is Old Coaly located outside of Freeman Auditorium. The skeleton mule won’t judge you and provides great moral support.

Become Unofficial Roommates With Someone Else

Obviously, it’s too late to restart the housing hunt all over again and move out. The next best thing is to hang around someone else’s place. This could be your neighbor, an off-campus friend, or even someone you recently met on Penn State Tinder.

Now you’re free to lounge around, cook, and maybe even nap in the comfort of someone else’s home. Your temporary roommate can also double as a therapist. Just make sure you at least clean up after yourself and maybe bring snacks over for your hosts.

Get Those Steps In

We mentioned earlier not to wander aimlessly. Instead, wander with a ~purpose~. We suggest walking from the Lion Shrine to the We Are statue and back for a touristy view. You could also do a lap around Beaver Stadium just to get a better feel for what it’s like to be a spectator. You could hit every fraternity on frat row to learn your Greek alphabet, too.

Not only are you getting some exercise, but you’re also staying far away from your roomies.

Hit The Gym

Similar to taking a walk, heading to Rec Hall or the White or IM Buildings is an easy way to pass the time. Besides weights and cardio, Penn State also offers an assortment of classes, a swimming pool, and an Esports lounge.

With showers and smoothies included, you could honestly spend the whole day here, only needing to go back to your place to sleep.

Grab A Coffee

Downtown State College has plenty of cute “stay-a-while” cafes. The obvious choices are Starbucks, Dunkin’, and Panera Bread. However, hidden gems we recommend are Elixir for the trendy professionals, Irving’s for the classic, cozy feel, Webster’s Book Store for a vintage vibe, and any of the numerous bubble tea shops for a sweet treat.

Most if not all of the stores provide a warm atmosphere, free Wi-Fi, and a comfy seat to spend a few hours in.

Hangout With Your TA

Your parents might tell you, “You’re spending so much money here, use every resource you have.” So, go visit your TA’s office hours. It’s not like they have something else to do during that scheduled time. Not only are you improving your knowledge of what you’re studying, but you’re also building a good rapport with your instructors.

Now is the class you’re asking about something you genuinely want to know? Probably not. Is it for an elective that you’re never going to think about again? Maybe. It doesn’t matter, at least you’re not around your roommates.

Check Out Some New Buildings

It’s easy to get tunnel vision and only wander the buildings where you attend class or the dining halls local to your dorms. But like visiting your TA, you need to take advantage of what the campus provides for you. The Bellisario Media Center, Smeal Business Building, and Westgate Building are all relatively new locations for studying and relaxation.

Most dining commons also have special dining features like Pollock’s Asia Kitchen, South’s Choolaah Indian BBQ, and East’s Flipps Grill. You can hit every dining hall like a food tour.

Be One With Nature

There may be a chance that you and the unfriendly roommate frequent the same locations. Luckily, living in the middle of nowhere has its perks. Photosynthesize on Old Main Lawn, smell the flowers at the Arboretum, and take a trek down to the horse and cow barns to live that rural farm life.

If you’re able to drive, hike Mount Nittany to scream about your problems. You can also head over and explore the Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, check out the bird aviary, or skip stones at the lake.

Get Spooky In The Stacks

While some may find the hushed library stacks creepy, there’s an odd sense of peace among the dusty books and maze-like bookshelves. Nobody would care if you took a nap between aisles, and if you have an Ouija board, you can talk to any of the spirits who may reside there.

Even a vengeful ghost is 10 times better than your rude housemate glaring at you for just opening the door.

Assert Dominance

To provide an alternative, you can equally dig your heels in and make that house your home. If you’ve tried to communicate and compromise, you’ve done all you could do. So why are you the one leaving? You are equally as justified as your roommates. Occupy the common spaces or your bedroom if that’s the shared space. Invite your own friends over and have family dinners.

This is your college experience, and you don’t need to back down from people who strive to make someone’s safe haven miserable. And if worse comes to worse, you still have next year to make up for it.

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About the Author

Marie Moyer

Marie is a fourth-year student majoring in journalism and minoring in sociology. She loves being fiscally irresponsible at local farmers markets, watching niche documentaries on HBO, and going to Penn State hockey games as "self-care." You can reach her on Instagram - @_mariemoyer_ or send her suggestions (and cat photos) via her email - [email protected].

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