Thursday, August 5, 2010

College 101 - Roommates

A lot of college freshmen trounce off to college used to their own rooms and tons of space. Unfortunately at college that just isn’t the case and it takes a little bit of getting used to.

Often, dorms are small and will force students to be social either through small spaces, common rooms, borrowing items, communal bathrooms, or meetings and social events.

While social interaction can be avoided somewhat, you’re going to have to converse with your roommate every now and then, it’s unavoidable. While some schools try to match students up with someone who may be compatible on paper, it just doesn’t always work.

My freshman year my roommate was a nice girl, but we had opposite habits. For example, I was neat and took out the trash, she was a bit messy and didn’t understand where the dumpster was. I liked to go to bed early, she stayed up until the wee hours to finish her homework. By Thanksgiving I actually volunteered to help her move her stuff to her new dorm.

If you love your roommate, great! But, if you don’t quite see eye-to-eye it’s important to not let hostile feelings fester. Keep an open dialogue with your roommate and your year will go by much smoother.

Here are a few tips to make roommate interaction a little easier:

  • Have a conversation the first week designating rules about guests, chores, and shopping
  • Keep a whiteboard to list things you might be running low on
  • If you’re uncomfortable, let your roomie know so she can adjust and remember to approach her like you would want to be approached
  • Try to become friends and attend an activity together outside of your dorm
  • Have a place where you can escape: the library, the lounge, a friend’s room, etc.
  • Remember that you will have to compromise now and then