Living with standard deviations

The quintessential college experience happens at different times for everyone. For some, it's the first all-nighter, sponsored by coffee and maybe a few tablets of Vivarin. For others, it's playing an impromptu game of Frisbee on Francis Quadrangle.

For freshman roommates Katie Pollock and Julia Bonham, it was nearly getting arrested.

"We were in a park, smoking cigars in a little Dixie Wildlife area," Julia said.

"There were six people packed into Julia's car," Katie said, finishing Julia's thought.

Katie, Julia and a group of their friends had trespassed in the park, causing a police officer to tell them to leave, they said. The only way they could legally be there, the officer said, was if they were fishing.

"So I said, 'So, you're saying if we were fishing, we wouldn't be in trouble? Well, we were thinking about fishing,'" Julia said.

"We were laughing like idiots," Katie said.

The two women dissolved into laughter.

A lot has changed since the beginning of the school year, when The Maneater first profiled Katie and Julia as two students at the beginning their college experience.

The roommates now have a tendency to finish each other's sentences. Their once-uncluttered residence hall room is covered with JoyCam snapshots of close friends on their floor.

And they're full of stories.

If you ask, they'll tell you about the cockroach that inspired Katie's Kockroach Katcher, which is fashioned out of a plastic Solo cup. They'll also warn you about stray paint balls.

"I was walking down Rollins (Street) with two other people, and this car drove by and hit me in the head with a paint ball," Katie said. "Then they drove off ? laughing, I'm sure. I felt the paint on the back of my head, and I thought it was blood."

However, a lot of things are still the same. Julia still has her wacky T-shirt collection. Today's selection reads, "Softball players do it with more gusto."

Katie's affinity for clouds is still apparent. Her cloud-print sheets are still on her bed.

But after nearly a full semester of college, these women have had great times and awful tests. They've had roommate spats and marathon talks. And they've learned along the way.

The humanities class they were excited about at the beginning of the year has melted in with other classes ? just another book to read, just another paper to write.

"I thought I would have the drive to read," Julia said. "It's surprising what a genius you become at 3 o'clock in the morning."

Katie said she didn't even know how to study when she came to college. Now, she has learned to prioritize. Sometimes, she said, that means pushing something off until the last minute.

"There was a point where I had an English paper and an English book to read and a humanities book to read," she said. "Something had to not get done."

Katie and Julia are still undecided about their majors. Katie is considering photojournalism, and Julia will soon take a career exploration class, but neither is setting anything in stone.

"I want to major in pop culture," Julia said, joking. "All I do is quote things from '80s TV shows. Then I should become a housewife."

For Julia, a big change has come concerning her personal relationships. Three months ago, she broke up with her boyfriend of four years. Now, she says she's doing well and is enjoying some newfound freedoms of single life.

The two women said they are closer than they were at the beginning of the year, since they share many of the same friends on the floor and have similar interests. However, one of their roommate tiffs not long ago over a sassy comment earned Julia a battle scar.

"So I said, 'Katie's being a real bitch tonight,' so Katie went crazy," Julia said. "She took a pen and drug it down my leg and scratched my leg up."

"I drew a line on her leg," Katie said, laughing. "Then she ran out of the room crying."

"I did not cry," Julia said.

The most noticeable change in Katie and Julia's room is the decibel level. Three months ago, the pair played soft music and spoke quietly about their expectations and future. Today, the roommates are quick to laugh together and tell stories of adventure and, well, misadventure.

The honeymoon period of newness and overwhelming freedom may be over, but with a semester's worth of experience under their belts, a new era of familiarity and closeness is just beginning.

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