One quintessential part of the college experience is living in the dorms. Nothing has made anyone so needlessly anxious as the infamous roommate lottery. Not all roommates are created equal, but no matter who you get to live with for a year, there are good things to do and talk about with your roommate.
Being in a residential summer program at my university, I got assigned a roommate and, all things considered, life with a roommate is not bad. That being said, there are things that everyone should try to do to be better roommates. Everyone wants to be one, and by doing these seven things, you will be in good shape.
1. Learn To Interact
One simple truth to prepare yourself for is that you need to be willing and able to compromise. Learning about your roommate takes time, so remember to be gentle and understanding. If your roommate does something annoying, has some special challenges or quirky habits, just remember that you may have some weird things that you do too. If your roommate struggles with something in the college life, like navigating campus or doing laundry, help them out! A good word and helping hand goes a long way.
College kids are known for hoarding food and keeping a stash in their dorm. This will be the case for you, but if you don’t want your stores pillaged, then you should probably talk to your roommate about food and sharing rules. As is the case a lot of the time, setting up "ground rules" between you and your roommate is the best thing you can do.
3. What Your Mama Told You
The one thing that I never did in high school was clean my room and make my bed. I do that now every other day, since the dorm rooms are small and my space is smaller. A lot of people I know can’t relax in their room if it is filled with mess. If you are one of those people, then try to keep your room clean, it’ll help your peace of mind.
4. My Side, Your Side
Even though you and your roommate will be getting to know each other a lot over the next year, you still have a right to your space and they have a right to theirs. If you can work out a solution with your roommate about space management, then do it. Nobody wants to feel encroached by their roommate’s stuff, so contain your stuff and they will control theirs. You don't have to be that guy.
Obviously, your parents aren’t here to manage what time you go to sleep. You have to take two people into consideration: your roommate and yourself. Your roommate may want to sleep, and you have to be respectful. Have more tact than a herd of elephants when you’re entering your room. You also have to make sure to take care of yourself. If you are rested, you will be better off all around. You will be more alert, doing better in classes and in better moods, which will be good for your friendship with your roomie.
People are going to want to come and hang out with you, see you and see how your college life is. Giving a tour around your new home and new life is fantastic, more power to you. If you are going to be chilling in your room with your people, just let your roommate know what’s going on. That way they can be prepared and make plans if they want to.
7. Communication is Key
When in doubt, talk about things with your new friend. If there is a difficulty between you two, the best thing you can do is talk it out and try to resolve what’s happening. At the very least, just communicate with your roommate about what’s going on: if you’re heading out, bringing a girl or guy over, going to do laundry, leaving for the weekend. It never hurts to keep in touch.
Do your best to be kind, helpful, understanding and willing to compromise and you will be in good shape. We all want a fun roommate, so be one.
Lead Image Credit: Kaique Rocha