Living with a roommate: Tips for success

by Nicole Belair, Staff Writer

Freshman year is difficult enough as it is.

You already have to worry about being in a new place, getting to all of your classes on time, and adjusting to a new routine, but perhaps the most anxiety-provoking aspect is the prospect of living with a roommate.

The horror stories we’ve heard from our parents or upperclassmen about bad roommates sure haven’t helped.

For many of us, our freshman year of college is the first time we have ever had to share a room with a stranger. It may be a difficult adjustment, but here are a few pieces of advice that may help you get along with new roommates and start the year off right.

First, it’s helpful to understand that you don’t have to be best friends with your new roommate. Some people are lucky and end up creating lifelong friendships with their roommates, but this outcome is by no means expected.

I was relatively shy at the start of my freshman year, so my two roommates were practically my lifelines. I was so dependent on them that it hindered me from branching out more and making other friends.

Also, don’t feel pressured to force a friendship. What is most important is that you and your roommate are respectful to each other and to each others’ personal space.

Once you move in, it is essential to set some general rules for the room. This might be an awkward conversation to try and have, especially early in the year, but it is crucial in the long run.

Many RAs will help facilitate this conversation or even make you create a roommate contract. Just a discussion about general expectations in terms of room cleanliness, having guests over, staying up late, or listening to music will be helpful.

Compromising is another substantial aspect of living with a roommate. You can’t demand someone to turn the lights off at midnight or not have friends over, but you should feel comfortable in your room.

If you need to listen to music while you do homework but your roommate needs the room quiet for studying, plugging in some earbuds would be a good compromise. Neither of you need to sacrifice anything, but working together and being considerate will certainly help keep the peace.

If problems do arise, don’t let them build up. Try to communicate openly and directly, tackling any issues right away.

One of my biggest mistakes as a freshman was not letting my roommates know if something was bugging me, and vice versa. The tension began to increase throughout the year, and it made for a miserable and awkward living experience.

You and your roommate can’t read each others’ minds, and nothing will change if it is never acknowledged.


Leave a Reply