The Collegiates Guide to Roommates.

Getting along with your college roommate is vital. While you don’t have to be their best friend, if you hate each other, you are going to have a rough transition into college. There are a few steps you can take before getting to school that will help you and your roommate get off on the right foot.

Most schools will send you an email with your future roommate’s full name and email address. As soon as you get that information reach out on Facebook as well as via email to increase your chances of reaching them. Introduce yourself, give them your name, where you’re from, and any other relevant information.

From there it is a good idea to set some ground rules – while it might feel awkward to do this – you won’t regret it. Establishing both of your expectations before you get there will help avoid confrontation in the long run.

Living with a roommate doesn't have to be hard - setting some ground rules and coming up with a plan is going to make it so much easier! Check out this post for a list of things that you're definitely going to want to ask your college roommate!
This is my roommate, Megan! You might recognize her from her blog, Living Between the Lines!

 

 

Things to ask your roommate:

How late do you stay up? How late can we keep the lights on?

My dorm room has a grand total of seven light sources that aren’t our overheads. My roommate and I are pretty courteous about lights and if one of us wants to sleep the overheads go off, and the awake one will turn on the fairy lights, our lanterns, or a lamp. If my roommate is going to bed and I know I’ll be up for more than an hour, I’ll leave.

This is what works for us, but it might not work for everyone. So make sure you know expectations on lights. It’s also just as important to know when you can turn them on in the morning. You might end up living with someone who sleeps until noon, and if you’re an early riser it’s going to be infuriating having to tiptoe around them for hours each morning.

Are we going to have any quiet hours for the room?

This is an important question to address. You might come in with the expectation of your room being a living space where you relax, unwind, listen to music, etc. Your roommate on the other hand, may have the intention of doing all of her studying at her desk. This is where I typically see roommates having problems.

Personally when I need to get studying done I will typically go to the library or the study nook in my dorm lobby. I don’t expect my roommate to accommodate me when I need complete silence, just as I wouldn’t want her to hold me to do that either. But again – maybe both you and your roommate want to study in the room – and if that’s the case, great!

When can we have guests over?

Guests are something that can be super annoying, and two girls in my hall last year would have weekly fights regarding guests. You are going to want to map out how many people can come over, how much notice to give each other, and if you live on a wet campus, if alcohol is allowed in the room (if you’re on a dry campus – don’t risk it!).

My roommate and I are both pretty lax about guests. For the most part I spend most of my time outside of the room so she knows that she can always bring people over, and on the flipside because I usually give her the room she is easygoing when I bring my boyfriend around or ask if my friends and I can study in the room.

Should we use headphones when listening to music or watching Netflix?

This might seem like a petty one, but if you and you’re roommate end up not getting along, you’ll quickly find that even the smallest things can blow up into huge issues. For this I recommend setting a time – during the day music is OK, at night put your headphones in. If you and you’re roommate get along this one can really be a case by case issue. If Megan was listening to something and it annoyed me, I know I could ask for her to use headphones without causing any tension.

How often will we clean the room?

Your dorm room is likely to be super small, so any mess is going to be magnified. I think the best bet for this one is to keep your side clean and let your roommate do their own thing. But you need to draw the line when it comes to things like laundry and garbage. If her mess is making the room stink you aren’t going to be happy. So a quick “Hey, let’s agree not to let laundry or garbage pile up.” should help keep the mess at bay.

Other things to take into consideration.

There are some things that seem petty, but they will make a big difference. You know yourself better than anyone – are there are any things that bother you for no good reason? Let her know, maybe even preface it with ” I know that it’s weird but…” and tell her about that thing that gets under your skin. Whether it be the sound of people eating chips, or certain scents, just get everything out of the way. Don’t be unreasonable, but just get it out  into the air.

When you arrive at school there is a good chance that your RA will have a contract for you two to fill out, and if you’ve already talked about everything then it will be a breeze.

Did I miss anything? What did you wish that you would have worked out with your freshman year roommate?

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