Your guide to being a great college roommate
If you're heading to college soon, there's a good chance you'll be sharing a room or living space with other people. Having a good roommate—and being one yourself—can make or break your living experience. We've got you covered with six helpful tips to ensure a great freshman year for you + your roomie(s).
Set boundaries before you move in
If you're able to choose a roommate before you head to school, it might be a good idea to find someone whose lifestyle is similar to yours. You don't have to be twins, but rooming with someone who's on the same page as you might make living together a lot easier.
If you can't choose beforehand, let your roommates know your expectations up front. You don't have to be confrontational, but explain your boundaries nicely.
Also, don't put pressure on being best friends with your roommate. If you guys become BFFs, great. But just being able to coexist and respect each other's space is ultimately the key to a healthy living sitch.
Everyone comes from different backgrounds, family situations, cultures, etc. You will almost definitely have differences with your roommate. While you're not expected to tolerate disrespect or rudeness, don't be too picky about everything your roommate does or doesn't do. Living with another person is all about compromising, so remember to be understanding and flexible when you can.
Make time for alone time
Living with another person 24/7 can be draining, especially if you're more introverted. Make sure that you're giving yourself space when you can. Go on a walk around campus or hang out at a coffee shop for a few hours, just to get out for a bit. If your roommate is at class or a club meeting, enjoy some time in the room to yourself. This is super important for recharging your social battery.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
Like any healthy relationship, communication is key. If your roommate is doing something repeatedly that bothers you, let them know. If you've had a bad day and just need to put your headphones in and be by yourself, tell them. We're all human and, chances are, your roommate will be understanding.
If your roommate doesn't seem to want to communicate or ignores your requests, don't be afraid to get an RA involved. They are trained to handle conflict and will help you navigate a bad situation.
Speaking of conflict, don't expect your entire year to be all butterflies and rainbows. Since you're living on your own for the first time ever, there's bound to be some conflict or disagreement between you and your roommate.
Sitting down and having a mature conversation with your roommate is the best route to take. It may seem daunting, but once you talk with them and express your feelings, you'll feel relieved. Don't forget to listen to your roommate's side of the story as well—coming to an agreement *will* require compromise.
Clean up after yourself
Nobody wants a dirty room, especially when space is limited. Don't leave piles of clothes on the floor or let dirty dishes sit out for a week—gross! Your room doesn't need to be squeaky clean all the time but, out of respect, try to keep your things tidy. Who knows? Organizing your space might just encourage your roommate to keep their side neat, too.
Embrace the experience
Living in a dorm is all part of the college experience. Although it may not always seem ideal, embrace this time in your life and make the most out of it. Keeping a positive attitude throughout the year will help you make it through finals. Enjoy it, bc the time will fly!
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