One of the best things about college is that you get to meet new people around campus, in your classes and best of all, your roommate or roommates! Living in a dorm gives you the unique opportunity to grow closer to another person in a fun setting that is temporary up to a year. While when you first meet them, you may want to spend all your time together, especially if you are a freshman and new to the school. Having a built in friend to go with you to new things is nice but here are a few things to consider before you start spending all your time with your roommate.
College is about discovering yourself, if you are constantly with your roommate, you may miss out on opportunities you may have otherwise jumped at. When you start at a new school, or even if it is a new year or semester, you should take stock in your interests. No matter which school you attend, you can be sure there are clubs and organizations you can join that you’ll enjoy. If you only hang out with your roommate, you may waste the chance to meet new people, try new things and do something that interests you and maybe not your roommate. If you and your roommate have the same interests, great! It is great to do things together as long as you are getting out and meeting new people while you do it.
This tip works for both roommates and in romantic relationships: if you spend time apart, you will have something to talk about when you get back together! Having separate experiences, classes and adventures allow you to have the opportunity to share stories once you return. If you do everything together, you won’t have anything fun to talk about! Make it a point to remember one key thing from your day to talk with your roommate about. This will show that you still care about your roommate even when you are gone!
While you and your roommate may be majoring in the same field of study, remember that you won’t always be roommates. College is a time of networking and finding other people in your career path that you may work with or for after graduation. When you go into interviews or your first day of work, your roommate won’t be with you, so learn to be independent when it comes to your career and it will help you later on. Join the clubs associated with your degree or find groups that can benefit your career later on (Future Leaders of America anyone?) Definitely still practice interviewing, choosing interview outfits and reviewing resumes with your roommate!
When you live with another person, it is easy to start to rely on them for company. In order to be successful after college, it’s important to learn to be independent. As explained above, college is a time for discovery and it’s important to spend time learning to be your own person. Learn to solve problems, go places and do things on your own. Even though you are living with another person, learn to like being alone. Being co-dependent can prevent you from going out to get your dreams, so learn to rely on yourself (at least some of the time) but always remember that accepting help is okay!
Since you are already in tight quarters, spending time apart will allow your room life to be peaceful. Simply put, too much time can equal getting tired of each other! If you spend time apart, you can come back to your room clear-headed, which is helpful, especially if there is a problem in the room. If your roommate is messy or not helping with the chores, spending time apart will allow you to address the issue kindly and not from a place of stress.
College gives you the opportunity for so many experiences and chances to make memories! Don’t ever be afraid of going out on your own to make your own memories. If you want to go to the football game but your roommate doesn’t like sports, go! Found a cool bar with live music? Go find your new sound! Want to go to the poetry slam but your roommate is more about nonfiction? Go for it! You can be sure that activities on campus will always involve a ton of other students and going alone just gives you the opportunity to meet new people!
Something that people tend to forget is that it’s okay to not like your roommate! Sometimes, complete opposites end up in a room together and while you may be cordial, you might not see them as a friend. In this case, definitely still be friendly but remember that not every roommate you have will be a friend for life. During my first year in school, I had three roommates and none of us were what I would call friends. My closest roommate was a total party girl while I was mostly an academic. While we were opposites, I still grabbed a drink with her once or twice and casually chatted when we were both there together. The other two roommates were always out and about and I hardly saw them all year. However, when I did see them, I made sure to ask how things were going. Make sure to still spend a little time together to not make things uncomfortable but don’t feel guilty if you don’t mesh!
Finally, remember that no matter your situation, definitely still schedule a time to hang out! Even if you and your roommate aren’t exactly friends, remember that you still live together and should meet up every once and a while to regroup. Whether it is dinner once a week or grabbing a cup of coffee, it’s important to still communicate on a weekly basis and make sure all is well.
So what do you think? Do you like your roommates? Share your stories below!
Emily Bell is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a degree in Journalism with a Public Relations concentration. She currently lives with her husband and dog on the coast in Florida.