Choosing a roommate in college
One of the greatest fears of attending college with food allergies is finding a roommate. In my dorm, you share a microwave and fridge with the person living with you so it's justifiable to be worried. You have to make sure that your food isn't cross-contaminated with your allergens. And if you're sharing utensils and plates, you have to make sure that it is washed and clean. You have to find a roommate that is comfortable with doing all of this who understands your food allergies and how life-threatening it is.
I looked for my roommate on Facebook. I found somebody at first but it didn't work out due to her desire to live somewhere else. I was afraid of getting a "random roommate" because I wouldn't know if she would understand the severity of my allergies. I joined a Snapchat group and asked if anyone was still looking for a roommate. Shvethaa (Chevy) messaged me and we FaceTimed later that day. We had so much in common and we both thought we were a great match! I told her about my food allergies and she was very understanding. I made it clear that I couldn't be in the same room as a food that contains cheese dust otherwise I would have an allergic reaction. I clarified what precautions we both needed to take and I also advised her to learn to administer the epinephrine. She was amazing and said that she will do her best to not cross-contaminate our foods. Later that day, Chevy and I both signed our roommate agreement forms. It was official. We were roomies!
This entire school year, Chevy has been the best. When she got food from the vending machine, she asked me which foods were dangerous for me. Even though she really wanted the Doritos from the vending machine, she got something else because I couldn't be around it. She made sure that her food was on a different rack in the fridge and that it was covered up so it wouldn't be exposed to my food. We put plates on our food when microwaving it and kept separate containers. One time, Chevy went to the store and got fruit snacks that we could both share! She knows how to use the epipen and is very aware of my food allergies. We also get along very well and have fun! Sometimes, we have a movie night where we sync up the audio on our phones and watch the movie on different screens. Just last week we were watching Dear John! My mom bough popcorn that we could both have so I wouldn't feel left out.
If you are worried about finding a compatible roommate, I suggest telling them about your food allergies first. You will know instantly if they are willing to take all of the precautions necessary to keep you healthy and alive. If they are not understanding of your food allergies later on in the year, contact your RA (Residential Advisor) to share your concerns. They will help you with this situation.