Mills College, a place to which I wish I had never gone

milee13's picture

Okay, so this is going to sound like a total bitchfest, but it's really starting to grate on my nerves.

So I live in a dorm, right? Well most of the people in my residence have single dorms and everyone on the third floor where I live has a single and a shared porch/balcony that they share with the person in the room next to theirs. So, although we don't have roommates we're still in limited space and have had to get to know eachother fairly quickly and all of that.

Anyway, there is this girl in my dorm that I have half of my classes with, and my entire hall has a class together, so they have all witnessed her classroom behaviour as well. In class she likes to debate things, for example if you tell her that Paris is in France she'll deny it and go off about how France isn't even a real country and somehow manage to insult anyone who is of French ancestry, usually she'll try and argue more advanced things...just random things while the professor is lecturing or during in class discussion, she has argued grammar and calculus as well. She tries to argue math. And semicolon usage.

I have an english comp class with her that also consists of essay readings that we discuss in class--basically we discuss anything from stylistic technique to general content. I love english, I want to be a writer, and I think, that if she wasn't in my class, I would actually be able to enjoy it.

Today we were discussing "Our Secret" by Susan Griffin, which is a look back at the Holocaust and the people affected by it, most of us enjoyed it, at least three of the four people from my hall who had the assignment really liked the piece. So, we get into class, and I'm already a little worried that A, we're going to call the girl from my hall A, is going to go off on a tangent like she did when we read Rodriguez and Anzaldua and that she is going to manage to offend anyone in the class who is Jewish or gay like she did with the students who are of Hispanic origin.

She has to be debating, constantly, at the beginning of the year she thought that I was going to be her debating partner but I quickly informed her that I really wasn't interested in arguing my views with her...she hasn't listened and attempts to do so at every available opportunity. I can't have an actual discussion with her about anything because she isn't well informed about any of her opinions and has no respect for mine when they differ from her own. She can have her own views, I'm completely fine with that, but I feel that she needs to show me the same courtesy.

Today, we got into groups to discuss what we each thought was Griffin's thesis in the essay. There was no point blank thesis in the essay because it wasn't a conventional essay and no one had the exact same idea as to where the thesis was in the piece. I thought it was somewhere in the beginning and pointed out what I thought was the main thesis and then explained why I thought that when asked.
A went next and proceeded to point out something similar but in a different section and then bash mine and demand to know why I thought I was right and inform me that I was not. I knew there wasn't a clear thesis, it wasn't that sort of essay, and I told her that I had interpreted it a certain way and that was what I had thought was a main theme, but just because I thought that didn't mean I was right and she was wrong. Because there was NO right or wrong. She threw a fit, I told her I didn't want to argue and that I had a headache and wasn't feeling very well, she denied that she was trying to argue and I didn't say anything. The third member of our group just looked disturbed.

This isn't the first time this has happened and she is impossible to communicate with. I feel like she's always dragging me into these arguments and I'm just so tired of it and it's starting to stress me out.

(Which is totally lame, I know, but I live with her and it's a small school and she is difficult to avoid)

So our hall is getting a new RA and after we met with the new RA this evening me and three other people were in the hallways discussing how we felt about the transition and whether or not we thought it would improve hall dynamics. We all agreed that we hoped it would.
A came out in the middle of our conversation and demanded to know what we were talking about and she assumed we were discussing rumors about the new RA, we explained, that no, we were just discussing how different we thought it would be without our original RA.
A informed us that she didn't think the RA was all that important and that no one ever came to her with issues anyway. M told her that she did talk to the old RA and I said that I felt the RA was an important part of the hall atmosphere. She tried to argue with me. I told her that that was just how it felt from my perspective. She tried arguing again and everyone left.
She called after me that I am apparently one of those people that just likes to state their opinion and not let people debate.

She's partially right. If I feel a certain way about an issue and I explain why I feel that way, that's just how it is. If I say that I'm for gay marriage because I feel that everyone should have the opportunity to get the legal rights that a marriage provides, that's my opinion and that's what I believe. I have a tendency to hold to my beliefs, but I can always back up why I feel a particular way.

But, I don't demand to know why people feel a certain way and then debate them. I accept that they feel that way and then try and steer conversations toward safer topics. Nothing is a safe topic with her and she has an opinion about everything. She gravitates toward me because often our opinions differ and today she claimed that I was "depriving her of intellectual stimulation" because I wouldn't argue with her in english. I AM NOT her intellectual stimulation, that's not my damn job, I'm here working my ass off and paying for my own education because I'm not lucky enough to have parents that can do it for me and I don't want to have to put up with her crap and listen to her go off about things that she can't possibly understand. I'm tired all the time and I only have one fully free day a week. I don't have the energy to argue with her and I just want it to stop.

I'm not sure how much more patient I can be before I completely snap. The people in my little group of friends also have issues with her behavior but they never say anything to her about it, they just complain in private and then let her continue, they also freak out when I actually do tell her that I'm not interested in arguing with her and tell me that I'm being "too harsh" by letting her know that she offended me when they're all offended by what she says as well. It's ridiculous and it's stupid and I'm so fucking tired right now.

If I don't know what i'm talking about I keep my mouth shut...I guess I feel that others should do the same.


NovaCat's picture

Ugh. I know how you feel; my

Ugh. I know how you feel; my roommate last year was similar to this, only not nearly as extreme. He liked to debate any and everything that I said, which was often interesting, but usually just annoying. And no topic was safe. If I had stated my opinions on chocolate, I probably would've found myself in the middle of an intense argument over why what I said was not technically accurate.

College attracts a lot of people like that. Actually, life attracts a lot of people like that. There is always going to be someone who constantly feels the need to be contrary to everyone else, no matter what the contrary position actually is. It's really a control issue, I think, though I think in your case, A has attention-seeking issues as well. You think maybe she was largely ignored by people in high school or something, and is now trying to get peopl to pay attention to her?

I agree that it is a bit unfair for the other people on your hall to be annoyed at A and yet criticize you for speaking up. Maybe if everyone spoke up (reasonably and calmly, without getting hostile), then A would get the picture that she's managed to piss everyone off with her obnoxious behavior, and that not every statement anyon makes is an invitation for debate. I dunno. I think you have the right idea just telling her that you'd really rather not argue with her and just leaving it at that. Of course she'll accuse you of not allowing her to back up her opinions, and that you're just avoiding an argument that you know you'll los, but frankly, if you took the effort to argue with her, she wouldn't shut up when she'd made her point anyway.

Just try your best to stay calm and not to like, smack her in the face when she gets confrontational about nothing. That will just cause her to get even more self-righteous and she'll play the "unfortunate victim with unsympathetic hallmates", which you don't need.

Sorry about your situation. Hopefully it'll get better; good luck!

help_me_god's picture

Don't really know what to say

Don't really know what to say, I know of a person SLIGHTLY like this. Though they are not at ALL as extreme as this person is. Yet they annoy the crap out of me. I have no idea what I would do in your position. Good luck at not smothering them with a pillow in their sleep! :)

wild-blue-yonder's picture


I'm sorry. That sounds like such a frustrating situation to be in because it's not exactly like you can control it, really. Ick. I dunno what would be the best thing to do, but have you considered just telling her to back off? It sounds to me like you're not too close to her, so it won't be like you're endangering a good friendship or anything - what have you got to lose? You could just tell her that she was really getting on your nerves and to please quit doing that to you, even to the point of "please just don't talk to me right now, I don't want to argue with you..." Or could you talk to the RA about it? I'm not sure what she would be able to do but maybe if the RA talked to A it would mellow her out.

I hope something works for you. I agree, people like that can be super-annoying. I wouldn't advise pillow suffocating, but I wouldn't advise trying to ignore her either. Do something!

Ward's picture


Sucks to be you. Seriously. If you can, try to arrange to stay as far away from her as possible. Sounds like you have to be in a group with her in class, is that because she sits near you? Try to ask your teachers if you can move away from her (but not too far so that you can't throw hard things at her. Like an eraser... or a chair). Also ask the teachers if it would be okay if you aren't in any of her groups. And I guess you can't really do anything about living with her in her dorm, but just stay away from her whenever you can. And continue telling her to back off, maybe someday she'll get the point (wishful thinking).

Used to be it was a man's world and a woman's place was in the home...
they can kiss that shit goodbye.

jojojo's picture

that sounds really annoying.

that sounds really annoying. I know how it is like if there is a problem with one person, and many people notice it, but everyone besides you is just to coward to speak up.
Good luck.