The things I was most excited about as I headed off to college last fall was that I got to decorate my dorm room and have a roommate! I really lucked out and adored both aspects however, I know that some people may not be as fortunate in the realm of roommates. My roommate, Nell, and I ended up being two peas in a pod and best friends!
A little background for you…
Furman is really adamant about completing a survey that will determine who you will room with based on the responses you've given. This survey worked out beautifully for some of my friends and could've been better for others. One of my aunts put Nell and I in touch seeing as she was friends with Nell's family and knew we were both heading to Furman.
I reached out to Nell on Facebook since we didn't live too far away from each other and it would be nice to know another person before we headed off 8 hours away. Those initial messages were so formal and are quite entertaining to re-read now that we are best friends!
After messaging back and forth for a little while we decided to get lunch together with our moms in tow to fill in any awkward silences that could potentially occur. the lunch was fun and we had tons in common and got along great! We then hinted at and eventually decided to request each other as roommates and the rest is history!
We only got into one fight during our time as roommates and that was even a fake fight. Basically, I wanted her to ride home with me at Christmas and instead she insisted on following me so that she would have her car at home.
Like I said earlier, not everyone is lucky however, here are some tips on how to make living with your roommate easier and more amicable!
1. Communicate Expectations at the Beginning | By starting out by clearly stating the expectations you each have, those expectations are more likely to be a reality. This beginning communication is crucial as you begin living together. If you're really particular about certain things, let your roommate know of that! communication is key for having a great experience!
2. Lock the Door | This should go without saying. I do not understand my friends who don't lock their dorm room doors! How terrible would you feel if you left the door unlocked and your laptop and great grandmothers pearl necklace were taken. Now picture if that same thing happened to your roommate and it was your fault. Locking your door takes about 15 seconds and is an easy way to prevent conflict. A fun bonding event could be you and your roommate shopping for cute key rings to keep your key on!
3. Give Your Roommate Alone Time In The Room | This is something that I think everyone should be conscious of and I personally had to focus on during second semester of this past year. It is unlikely that your roommate and you will have identical schedules so by just going to class you are already likely providing your roommate some time alone in the room. In college you are surrounded by people nearly all the time so a little alone time in your own space is nice! Go to the library or the gym to allow them some alone time.
4. Respect Your Roommates Things | This is something you and your roommate can talk about when you communicate your expectations, as suggested in tip #1. I would recommend that you always ask before borrowing even if y'all decide that your stuff is my stuff and my stuff is your stuff.
5. Make A Roommate Agreement | Furman does this at the beginning of the year for all freshmen and that may be why so many roommate relationships are a success. This is a survey of sorts that we did with our RA that covered questions ranging from: How do you feel about room visitors? / What do you think of your roommate borrowing your things? These questions provided great insight into your roommates lifestyle.
6. Be Courteous of their Schedule | Your roommate goes to bed early and you need to stay up late and study? Turn off the overhead light and allow her to sleep and flip on your desk light so that you can still see to study! Today is your roommates sleep in day and you have class at 8:30? Try to turn your alarm off after the first couple rings and be quiet as you head out the door!
7. Be Clean and Cleanup After Yourself | Nothing is more annoying than coming back from a rough day of class to dishes in the sink and clothes strewn about because someone had a presentation today. You wouldn't want to do this to your roommate and hopefully your roommate won't do that to you! Your room doesn't have to be as immaculate as a museum but try to keep things organized and your stuff on your side of the room. Take turns taking out the trash and vacuuming the room!
8. Deal With Problems As They Arise | Don't let emotions and conflict build up between you and your roommate. If you deal with problems as they arise corrections can be made instead of you just assuming your roommate will pick up on your passive aggressive hints. Don't blow up on your roommate, everything after that will just be uncomfortable.
9. Be Intentional With Your Relationship | You're going to the dining hall to grab some coffee, ask if your roommate wants some or wants to come. Going to the grocery store, see if your roommate needs anything! Just by offering you are allowing your roommate to see that you want to get along and you are finding ways to grow closer.
10. Offer Help | See that your roommate is struggling with something? Offer assistance! It won't go unnoticed and it's likely that help will be offered to you in return.
I hope these tips help you to forge a positive relationship with you roommate!
Sadly, Nell and I will not be living together this year since we pledged different sororities and are living on our respective sorority halls. No worries though, they are only one floor apart so we will still be together frequently! We do hope to live together Junior and Senior year though! This year I am rooming with a super sweet girl who is a Kappa Delta with me. Her name is Karina and I am so excited to get to know her better and live with her!
Any other tips you think should be included?
(The illustrations in these images came from inslee.net. Go checkout her beautiful artwork!)