- Compromise – You are now living with someone who may have different lifestyle habits than you are used to. One of you may like to go to bed much earlier than the other or prefer to study with lots of background noise. It sounds scary, but compromise helps to maintain a harmonious relationship.
- Share Room Responsibilities and Chores – Make a list of cleaning duties that need to be done and split it evenly to decide who will do what. No one wants to have a roommate who never helps out, bothers to clean or is a total slob. In addition, if you know your roomie has a huge exam or project coming up, cut them some slack because homework is important. Just make sure they pick up when their exam or project is finished.
- Share the Dorm Space – Always let your roommate know if and when you will be having guests over in advance. Another option is to create a schedule of all parties so that everyone knows when the dorm will be heavily occupied. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable coming home after a hard day at class or work to find an impromptu party being held with lots of people they don’t know. It can be stressful and students have a lot on their plates at all times—everyone is different. If you know you will be having people over longer than a few hours, try taking the party elsewhere out of courtesy.
- Always Communicate – Being in contact is essential for a roommate relationship. You aren’t going to have the same work, school, or extracurricular activity schedule as your roommate or the same eating or hygiene habits. This new person will be occupying the same close space with you for several months. If there are issues and concerns, it is always best to work through them by letting him or her know as soon as a problem arises.
- Spend Some Time Together – Try to make some time to do activities with your roommate that do not involve vacuuming or cleaning out the fridge. It will help you get to know each other better, which will help you to become stronger roommates. It may even build a lasting friendship. Plus, you already know one person on campus at move in and will have an instant buddy for dining hall trips or campus events.
- Be a Disruptive Roomie – You don’t have to bend over backwards to accommodate your roommate, but be aware of his or her needs. If you can see your roommate is studying or writing a paper, don’t rudely blast loud music from your laptop or decide it is the perfect time to play loud video games. Invest in headphones or turn the volume down. Also, don’t bring a significant other back for a make out session or a quickie during study time either. Your roommate will tell horror stories about you years after graduation.
- Be Your Roommate’s Parent – You may have the best intentions, but college is a learning experience. You are sharing a room with a classmate and hopefully a friend. You are not raising them. Your roommate needs to make his or her own mistakes. Don’t try to be his or her parent. Maybe they let class assignments slide or never go to work on time. If so, don’t nag them. There is probably a good chance their maturity level may not match your own, and that is okay.
- Ignore Each Other – You don’t have to constantly talk or hang out, but at least be courteous and talk to your roommate about dorm matters. Even if you aren’t crazy about your roommate, never speaking to or acknowledging one another is the best way to ruin any relationship. Don’t act like your roommate isn’t there while he or she is clearly in the room. Part of the dorm experience is to help build social skills for the future, so at the very minimum be cordial.
- Eat Each Other’s Food – Always ask if you can eat something that is not yours. Most of the time, your roommate will be willing to share. However, if you didn’t buy it, it is not yours to consume. Plus, your roommate will definitely notice if his or her food is always missing. Stealing food will also cause tension and make you look like you can’t be trusted. Even if you are hungry, it’s cold outside or that leftover meal looks quite tempting, don’t even try it. Either go without or go somewhere and get your own treats.
- Spend Every Minute Together – It is great to hang out with your roommate outside of the dorm, but don’t do everything together. You both need to make your own friends and spend time away from each other. You are living together and already spending tons of time together. Hanging out with your roomie once or twice a week is great. Every minute of every day? Not so much.
If you have tried all of the do’s and don’ts on the list, and your roommate situation is still not working out, Room Change Requests will be available from Residence Life from Sept.16 through Oct. 18. You can always try again with a different roomie.