Getting along with your roommate in college is crucial, especially during freshman year when your roommate is typically the first person you meet. Roommate drama can really tamper with your grades, social life, and happiness. The most important thing to have between roommates is respect, and if you gain a great friend out of the experience then that’s a bonus! People are unique and different, and your roommate will most likely not have the same living, studying, sleeping, and social habits and that’s okay. Here are a few tips to start off your year with your roommate on the right foot and make the college experience great for you both!
1. Talk on the phone. Whether your roommate was randomly assigned or you chose each other (through a roommate matching system or some other way), talk on the phone before you both move in. Staying in contact on Facebook, Twitter, etc. is fine, but you will want to establish a real (off-line) connection and have a conversation. Introduce yourself, chat, and go over some important information like who is bringing the mini-fridge, microwave, or any other dorm supplies. Let each other know about your dorm decor plans and respect each others wishes. (If you want to hang up a huge creepy poster of the Joker with “Why so serious?” written in blood in direct eyesight of your roommate when she is in bed, let her know. If this is a problem, you may want to consider some other form of decoration. Yes, this did happen to me). If one of you is bringing their car, this may be a good thing to mention as it may make the moving in process easier for the two of you.
2. Set Guidelines. Most schools will have your RA go over some basic rooming information and give you a “roommate contract” to go over. This is to facilitate discussion over core topics that pertain to living together, like habits, expectations, and cleaning duties. You both should get familiar with each others’ sleep schedules, and know who is an early bird or night owl. If you’re dating someone, don’t have your significant other practically become the 3rd roommate, and don’t be passive aggressive if this is your roommate. Say something to resolve the issue. Again, compromising is the solution. For example, maybe you’re fine with him/her crashing on the weekends, but not the weekdays.
3. Respect their space. You guys are sharing a room, which means it’s just as much their room as it is yours, and vice versa. If you want to go to bed early, your roommate should not continue watching TV or listening to music, and likewise! There are common areas that you can hang out at should you need to leave. If you wake up earlier than your roommate, don’t turn on the lights, use your hairdryer, and go about your usual routine. This seems obvious but you may be surprised. If you are coming back from a party at 3am and your roommate is asleep, keep the lights off, tip toe around, and use your cell phone if you need light. This will be appreciated and good karma will be coming your way. When you respect their space, they respect yours.
4. Use common courtesy. You both should be putting your cell phones on silent when you go to sleep, and you should put great effort towards not pressing snooze if your alarm goes off before your roommate’s. If you like to study with music on, perhaps you could invest in some headphones. If you are sick (a good amount of freshman catch colds during their first semester due to being around so many people in close quarters), make a solid attempt at not infecting your roommate. Go to the health center if you suspect you need medicine and wash your hands frequently.
5. Communicate. Everything will be much smoother when you and your roommate discuss issues and things that may come up. Talk about your comfort levels with having friends come over, visitors staying the night, or staying for a few days, etc. Establish a common understanding, such as if you want to study in the room but he/she wants to pregame with friends. Maybe you could move to the study room across the hall. Next time they will pregame somewhere else. Compromise. If something is bothering you, don’t let it build up, instead, nip it in the butt.
Having a roommate that you not only get along with but are friends with is great. “What are you doing this weekend?” turns into, “What are we doing this weekend?” However, college is a time for personal growth so be sure to get out there and make separate friends too. You will always remember your college roommate and with these tips, hopefully you’ll look back on those memories and smile at the good times you shared.