The name game
I’ll be honest. I’ve been dreading writing this column for months already. Just because I didn’t want it to be another one of “those” columns. You know the type-there’s probably one sitting a couple inches away from mine. It’s the one that says, basically, “I can’t believe we’re graduating…it’s sad but exciting at the same time.”
So instead, I thought I’d go back in time and tell the story of how I met my freshman year roommate (the other “L. Goldstein”). And so it goes…
After many days of anxious waiting, I had finally received my dorm and roommate assignment from Washington University. Upon ripping open the letter, I read the following words:
“Your housing assignment is Room 1104 in Lien House. Your roommate’s name is: Laura Goldstein.”
My reaction was a mixture of disbelief and impatience. I immediately assumed that Residential Life had mistaken my first name for Laura, and thus roomed me with myself. As I tried to decide whether this would be such a bad thing after all, my eyes scanned down the page and I discovered my theory was wrong. This Laura Goldstein was from Virginia (not Chicago like myself), with a separate home address and phone number from my own.
Now I didn’t know what to think. Was this some kind of joke? My thoughts scattered as I tried to imagine my first meeting with this other Goldstein. Would we hate each other like the two long lost sisters from The Parent Trap did when they first met? Or would we bond over our common last name?
As the last days of our pre-college lives marched on, we exchanged emails and phone calls. We talked about who was bringing what, when we were arriving, even what type of music we liked. She seemed nice enough. But my worried pursued, as I wondered: what will happen when we actually get to school?
A month passed, and the day finally came for me to move to St. Louis. Strangely enough, we both moved our things in without meeting each other, since she went immediately to the Ozarks for the Pre-Orientation program Launch, while I stayed on campus for Student Life’s Freshman Press. This only left me more anxious. All I could do was study the flowered sheets on her bed, a picture of a little Australian Terrier on her wall, and the notebooks sitting on her desk, and try to piece together a picture of this stranger.
Finally, on the final day of Pre-Orientation, I came home to room 1104, put my keys in the door, and turned the lock, knowing in seconds I would meet my roommate for the next eight months. As I fumbled with my still new and tricky lock, my roommate opened the door from the inside. We saw each other, hugged, and immediately laughed over our nervousness of meeting one another.
After spending time together during Freshman Orientation, my worries slowly melted away, as I became more and more comfortable with Laura Goldstein, my roommate who was no longer a stranger. I gradually learned we had much more in common than our last names.
As we finish our final year at Washington University, I’m still glad that Residential Life perhaps thought it’d be funny to room together two people with the same last names. And ultimately, it’s the two Goldstein’s who got the last laugh: we’ve been roommates and best friends for four years.
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