Most students can relate to harrowing tales of roommates and residence life debauchery accrued in their four – or some times six – years at Central Michigan University.
Julie Roberts, a recent CMU graduate, reflects on the more colorful aspects of residence life and her time on campus in her book, “That’s not a Toilet!: (True stories of Gross, Scary and Bizarre College Roommate Experiences).” The book was released in April.
“It talks about reckless and dumb behavior, but it doesn’t promote it,” Roberts said. “It’s a kind of a humorous way to teach kids about college living telling them how to handle difficult roommate situations.”
The Shelby Township native graduated from CMU in 2005, and accumulated the stories from firsthand experiences while attending university. After writing the majority of the book in college, she graduated and pursued a career in elementary education.
Roberts said she had always enjoyed swapping funny stories of hardship and whimsy with other students. At the urging of her mother, who Roberts said had grown weary of her obsession, she decided to write a book about her experiences at CMU.
The tome contains 47 short stories broken into categories, ranging from dish wars and roommate disputes, to sexual escapades and alcoholic calamities.
Roberts said she had forgotten about it for several years until she stumbled upon the manuscript while cleaning.
Collecting the stories by talking to people on campus and recording them on a notepad, Roberts said most of them are harmless tales.
“I think it’s being completely honest,” said Heather Richards, executive director of Eagles Nest Publishing. “It’s about warning people ‘This is what you can come across if you’re dealing with different types of people.’ It’s pretty funny, basically showing how to handle situations you can head into and being prepared for it.”
Richards describes the book as “extremely hilarious,” and a good gift for recent high school graduates who are looking to glean a glimpse inside university life.
Joan Schmidt, director of Residence Life at CMU, said that sometimes these stories can be embellished and are not always reflective of living in the residence halls. However, Residence Life doesn’t discourage these kinds of humorous tales about CMU.
“We know things happen that are against the rules and regulations and we don’t go around trying to bust people, but make sure that its a good warm community to live in,” Schmidt said.
She added that students have plenty of options to negotiate with a hostile roommate in agreements signed at the beginning of the fall semester. Students also can move or vote to remove a roommate if necessary after the first two weeks.