If you live on campus, you know that the process of getting a roommate is exciting, stressful and new all at the same time. Whether your college lets you request roommates, matches you with roommates based on surveys or places you with a random person, students have a lot of things going through their head before move-in day. Will we get along? Will we have similar interests? Will they be one of those people who plays country music or heavy metal so loud that I think I'm going to have a fit? It can all cause quite some anxiety.
Luckily, most upperclassmen have been through the process more than once. I spoke with a few students who have some great advice and experience to share on the matter.
Elizabeth Royer, a junior at Haverford College, gives the big picture on a successful roommate experience:
"Consider being as flexible and open as you can, within reason," Liz told Fresh U. "Also, be clear and explicit with what you want -- don't assume that your roommate can read your mind!"
Annie Seagers, a senior at the University of Pittsburgh, knows that it takes some getting used to:
"You'll get frustrated with your roommate at times," she says, "and that's okay! Just make sure you talk it out and stay positive. You don't have to be best friends with your roommate, but you have to be respectful."
On a personal note, as someone who is rooming with a close friend from high school, it can definitely ease the initial tension of moving into your dorm. However, rooming with a stranger won't stop you from being able to get along. Respect is the most helpful tool regardless of how well you know the person.
Another very important part of starting the year is your roommate agreement, a pact between you and your roommate(s) on various issues that your RA will likely keep track of.
"Always fill out a roommate agreement and always be honest when you do, even if they seem like they don't agree," says Gab Bugatti, a sophomore at Temple University.
Your roommate agreement may ask not only questions for all of your roommates to discuss, but individual questions as well. Even if your roommate might want something different, this is your chance to stand up for your right to things like privacy and protection of your belongings.
Maya Rao, a sophomore at Case Western Reserve University, says,"Be respectful of each other's schedules," a topic that roommate agreements will likely involve.
"Luckily for me, my roommate and I got along super well and we have really similar sleeping patterns, which is nice," Maya told Fresh U. "We lived together over the summer and are roommates again this year," she adds.
Having a similar schedule as your roommate may actually be just as important as having similar personalities.
Maya also emphasizes the importance of cleanliness, something she and her roommate are sure to include in their schedule.
"Keeping things relatively neat makes life less stressful overall," she points out, "My roommate and I are both on the messier side, but we always set aside a day to clean up our stuff at some point during or after the school week."
If your roommate agreement has a section about cleaning, don't rush through it. Deciding who will do which types of cleaning and when they will do them will reduce future conflicts. Cleaning isn't just a chore - it's important to your health and comfort as well!
Elizabeth Royer also touched on one of the golden rules of living with roommates:
"Keep in mind that having a good relationship with the people you live with may be more important than having things your way," she told Fresh U.
Dorming with one or more other people doesn't have to be a nerve-wracking experience. Take it from some upperclassmen who have come out of the scenario very much alive! You and your roommate(s) *will* be different and want different things, and that can only be expected given that you are simply different people. The key is to know how to communicate, take your roommate agreement seriously, and always remember respect.
Lead Image Credit: NBC