Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." This is a quote I hold near and dear to my heart, especially on the issue of bullying. I wanted to share with the student body an issue that I have not only heard about from several peers, but I have also personally experienced: roommate bullying.
College is a time when you branch out and take a leap of faith, meaning you start living with new people, some of which you have never met. My experience does not start out unique. I chose to live with three random roommates within student housing to branch out and meet new people. A common phrase is that you meet your "best friends for life" in college, and this is what I thought I would find. Instead, I was harassed to the point of moving out of my home, having to relocate during the busiest part of the semester.
My goal of this piece is not to shame my roommates the way they did to me, so I will not share their names; but ultimately my goal is to share an experience that several students on this campus face every single day. I had heard horror stories from my peers in the past of "when someone didn't take out the trash" and how it would end in aggressive confrontation and sometimes even harassment. I had heard these stories, but never had I imagined it would happen to me.
My Easter weekend was pleasant; I visited family in my hometown and made sure to clean all of my dishes before leaving the apartment, leaving these dishes to dry in the kitchen over the weekend. When I had come home, all of my stuff was in a garbage bag in the living room. Wanting to avoid unnecessary conflict, I simply told my roommates to "not touch my stuff" and went into my room. This was when it started, the harassment. I heard everything from "you're a joke" to "you will never make it in life" for not engaging with the outraged roommates. My roommates persistently yelled outside my door for an hour, this hour being 3 a.m. In my experience living with these individuals, I had endured everything from cruel text messages, profanities directed toward me and written on our community "message board" in our apartment, to the spilling of an entire bag of trash on my living room that I was forced to clean. These are just some examples of the type of harassment one can face and often stay silent about.
I spent several nights locked in my room thinking what I could have possibly done to deserve this type of treatment, and then it dawned on me: This said nothing about me as a person and everything about them. If you are being bullied, the first step is to make sure you acknowledge that this is not an issue with you, but with those whom have decided to harass you. You are a victim of harassment, and your voice deserves to be heard.
Roommate bullying is a serious problem that needs to be handled with the utmost care. Luckily, here at UCF we have an outstanding team of resident assistants and housing officials. I am very grateful that I was able to work with UCF Housing to find a better living situation for myself. If you feel that you are being singled out or harassed by your roommates, it is better to report it immediately than endure the unwarranted aggression. Your home here at UCF should be a place to relax, unwind and grow.
If you feel that you live in a hostile environment, speak up and share your story. But also always remember that in any situation, you deserve nothing but respect.
Chelsea Daley is the president of the College Democrats at UCF.