College

Sharing a Room with Allergies

A lot of people are surprised when I tell them that I live at college with a roommate.  And even more are surprised when I tell them that my roommate has no allergies.  But overall, I’m really happy with the way my housing has worked out so far in college, and so I’m going to spend this blog sharing about the factors that went into my housing decision.

At first, I began to worry that I would need an apartment so that I could cook my own food, and live in a space that would be completely controlled and free from allergens.  All of the apartment style living options at University of Delaware are under upperclassmen housing, so socially that might isolate me- especially if I lived alone.  Besides the extra stress of having to clean a house and cook my meals would be a little too much compounded on the confusion of freshman.  And then there was the complicating factor that I am in the Honors Program, and am required to live in the Honors dorm my freshman year. But once I gained more of an understanding of the Dining Services at the University of Delaware, I realized that the Honors housing might work out.

Then I began to consider adding a request for a single room on my medical housing paperwork.  A single would provide still provide me with a place completely allergy-safe while placing me in a community of other Honors freshmen living in close proximity.  Although single dorms are more expensive, it was a price that I was willing to pay to ensure that I would be safe at my home away from home.  I was pretty set on this idea when I committed to UD, but then I joined the Facebook page for accepted students.

On the Facebook page I saw many other committed students talking all about who they were and what they were looking for in a roommate.  After scrolling for a while, I found a boy with food allergies who had mentioned in his “looking for a roommate” post that he had an egg allergy and I started to think that maybe someone would be ok rooming with me.  I had roomed with people on plenty of short term trips with the music department and at overnight camps before.  When I found a girl who had many similar interests with me, I started a conversation with her on Facebook DMs and long story short, we ended up as roommates.

I made sure that my allergies came up early on in our conversations once they got serious about rooming.  Although they don’t define me, they are an important part of my health and safety and luckily my roommate is very understanding.  We agreed to only bring Julia-safe food in the dorm and I rented a microwave/minifridge unit so that we could keep more food in the dorm.  Although I still need to double check all the ingredients on food she brings in, she is slowly learning what I cannot eat and our room has been a great place.

Having a roommate has provided me with a both a core part of the college experience and a great friend on campus.  I’m so glad that I was able to work out my freshman housing and look forward to all the additional options I have to consider in the future!

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