Roommates & Friends at NMMI

By: Cadet Hailey Betancourt

Being assigned a roommate is a scary situation. What if I hate her? What if she’s messy? What if we don’t get along? These are all situations I contemplated when I first arrived for matriculation. For my first week at NMMI, I had a room all to myself, which I thoroughly enjoyed because I had always shared a room with my sister at home. Then on a random afternoon, I heard the door knob turn and in walked a complete stranger; my roommate, Juliet.

We said our introductions and she began to unpack her belongings. It was awkward and quiet. I didn’t know what to say, so I sat at my desk and started to read my blue book. For the first few weeks, our conversations were limited to asking for help on making our beds and helping each other braid our hair.

I had established a group of friends in our troop and she was friends with some of them, so we started to hang out more outside of our room. This led to inside jokes, having a “secret” handshake, and building a strong friendship.

Living together was never perfect, especially not in the beginning. I would always complain to our friends that she was messy and never kept her side of the room clean. As our friendship grew, Juliet later told me that she and her mother had a nickname for me, Miss Perfection, because I was so high strung the first month and wanted to make sure that I was doing everything perfectly. That’s not a bad thing, but it was the opposite of Juliet who was a bit more relaxed.

Living with Juliet has taught me that being successful roommates does not mean that you must be the same in every single way, but that you both must compromise and make adjustments so that you both are comfortable in the space that you share.

If someone told me in the beginning that Juliet and I would be each other’s right-hand man and lifelong friends, I would have never believed them. But somehow, we have become like sisters; always supporting each other and never judging one another. NMMI has a way of allowing people to form the strongest of bonds. Each cadet who goes here is experiencing a life that many our age could not fathom, which in turn makes us rely on one another for support and guidance. I will forever be thankful for the Institute and the people I have met here for showing me what truly matters in life: knowledge, friendships, and family.


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