My college experience was not like the movies.
I have a total of maybe two friends that I still keep up with from college, and I don’t look back on those times with many positive memories.
Still, those memories are what prompted me to write SLEEPING AROUND.
So I’m going to share with you how I came up with my story idea.
(If you haven’t checked out the synopsis, SLEEPING AROUND is about roomless freshman Cora Li trying to survive her shitty first semester despite no help from Residence Life.)
I was roomless my freshman year.
I moved in like every other freshman into my first dorm room, but unlike the rest, I was unceremoniously kicked out. One day, I went to wash my sheets, and when I came back, another girl had moved into my bed and shoved all my stuff into a corner. Very, very, very long story short, I ended up living on an air mattress in the basement for OVER a month. My RA knew. Hell, the Director of Residence Life knew. (More on that later.) But it took an almost-fist-fight and an officer before anyone helped me.
Because my first semester at college was complete hell, I wanted to write a story that showed how college rooming can go wrong.
My sister almost didn’t have a place to live on campus.
My sister transferred her junior year. Two weeks before she was supposed to move in, she got a call from Residence Life. They said they messed up her room assignment. The house they put her in was only for freshmen, so she couldn’t live there. When she asked what other options were available, they said there were none. There were no other rooms on campus.
It worked out for my sister—she lived with a sweet, 92-year-old lady near campus that always reminded her to wear a coat. But this stuff doesn’t just happen to me and my sister. This stuff happens to a lot of college students. And I would guess most college students don’t have kind strangers that offer their homes and save the day.
Residence Life couldn’t or wouldn’t help us.
Working in higher education myself, I know some of the pressures Residence Life faces, how it’s often a scramble to board students in hotels at the beginning of the school year from lack of rooms. And I’m sure most people working in Residence Life are compassionate and care about the students.
But Residence Life turned their shoulder on us.
This also inspired the premise of SLEEPING AROUND.
Yeah, college was shitty, but I’m living my best life now. Tell me about your shitty college experiences in the comments!