Imagine being a junior in college and finding our your dormmate would be -- a 4-year-old. No, this toddler wasn't so brainy that he was admitted to New York University super early. But he did have a mother who was also attending the prestigious college -- and she was assigned Shasten Snellgroves as a roommate. Shasten was aghast to learn that her roomie was a mom and that, according to school policy, she'd be able to bring in her young son into their dorm room as many days of the month as she liked, and up to six nights a month.
Shasten complained to school officials, but was merely told she'd need to "compromise." Finally, she wrote a letter and made it public. There, she said, "I don’t feel that it is just for me to be facing consequences related to her life decisions." Ahh, youth. Still under the impression that they can live life in a bubble of their own making.
I sympathize with Shasten. I really do. And at her age, I would have been horrified to walk into my college dorm room and find a toddler there -- possibly barfing, or screaming, or asking the same question over and over ... and over. Not only does this not make for the best study environment, but it disrupts the entire "college experience," as Shasten puts it in her letter.
But I'm a little older and wiser now. In fact, as I sit here writing, I'm listening to my upstairs neighbor's 1-year-old scream. I've been listening to it for a year. I didn't choose to have a child -- but I might as well have.
The fact is, most of us will have to deal with someone else's choices at some time in our lives -- even a stranger's. That's because we all live in the same planet. And without each other, we're doomed, my friends.
If you're going to benefit from someone else's choice to become a fireman and save your ass from a burning building, then you also have to deal with someone else's choice to have a kid and move it into your dorm room. Because we don't get to deal with the choices of others that we just AGREE with.
In fact, it's challenges like dealing with difficult situations -- and other people's life choices -- that make us better, more profound humans.
Shasten could have used this opportunity for so many things. She could have gotten to know what it's like to be a single mom trying to juggle college (perhaps widening her perspective a little). She could have written about her experiences (imagine Tuesdays with My Roommate's Toddler). She could have used it on her resume to show how well she adapts to unexpected situations.
She didn't do any of this, of course. She complained. And since her roommate has been moved to a single room -- she got her way.
But it won't always be like that.
Do you think moms should be in college dorm rooms with their kids?