Tips for living with a roommate
Sharing living spaces can be an incredible opportunity for personal growth and lifelong friendships, and it can become a memorable chapter in your life. However, it also comes with its fair share of challenges. Many students become anxious about what awaits them, but don’t worry! There are things that you and your roommate can do to make the best living environment possible. You never know; this person might become your best friend.
1. If possible, meet up before move-in.
If you and your roommate can, meet up in person before moving in. Do something fun and relaxed, like going out to lunch or grabbing a coffee. This way, you can get a feel for the person you’ll be living with and discuss things that will create a healthy relationship for your time together.
2. Be open and honest.
When it comes to sharing a living space, discussing boundaries is crucial for establishing a comfortable and respectful living environment. Consider topics like whether one of you is a night owl or an early riser, when it’s OK to have guests, quiet hours and when it’s OK to use one another’s things, etc. You can also learn each other's schedules, so you know when you have some alone time or when you’re both free to hang out. Whatever it may be, don’t hide your needs and wants from your roommate, but also be willing to compromise and meet them halfway.
3. Go into it with a positive attitude.
Don’t psych yourself out by reading roommate horror stories or overthinking the possibility of having a terrible roommate. Embrace this new opportunity with open arms, and make the best of it. On many occasions, roommates become very close and end up living together for all four years. Don’t let one bad interaction ruin your perception of the roommate experience, but rather embrace it as a learning experience.
4. Communication is key.
Having conflicts with your roommates is very normal, but the result of the conflict depends on how you and your roommate handle things. If you have a problem, don’t hold it in or be passive aggressive, as this will only lead to more tension and things becoming more heated than necessary. Instead, calmly and politely discuss what’s on your mind and talk about ways you can resolve the conflict. However, you must respond the same way if your roommate brings up a problem to you.
5. Have fun!
When starting as a first-year student, many if not all students are nervous about making friends. Your roommate is probably in the same boat as you, so utilize your time together, whether it’s going to the dining hall, watching a movie or studying together. While you don’t have to be best friends, spending time with your roommate can foster a healthy relationship and can make your living space comfortable and relaxed.
Brett is a senior from Batavia, Ill., majoring in political science and multimedia journalism and mass communication.