Posts Tagged ‘roommates’
Welcome to college! Guess what? Now you have to live with a stranger.
The roommate situation can either be wonderful or terrible. You might get lucky and be made for each other! Or you might not have anything in common with your new roommate. No matter what your particular scenario turns out to be, make the most of it and you will have a painless freshman year. The key? Communication.
Get in touch with your new roommate. As soon as you get their information, break the ice! It’s the hardest part, but thankfully email and Facebook make meeting someone for the first time a lot easier. Tell them a little bit about yourself and try to get to know them as best as possible.
Discuss the dorm room. Figure out which items you can each bring. Who has the microwave, mini-fridge, carpet, or chairs?! Planning a common space together is a great way to not only get pumped for a year together but bond over the awkward situation that is living with someone new.
Be open-minded. Even if you don’t think there is anything you have in common with this new roommate, you are both going to the same school. When in doubt, you can discuss what drew you to your university and ask why they are attending. They probably have their own interesting story that led them to this college.
Go out to dinner together. Or lunch! Or coffee! Spend some time getting to know this person at the beginning of the school year. You don’t have to do this on the first day or every day of your first week, but within the first month of school set aside a time where the two of you can chat in person. You’ll be spending a lot of time in the dorm room, so getting out to a new place will be fun.
Talk about expectations. Honestly, this is probably the hardest but the most important conversation to have with a roommate. Let them know where you stand on partying, studying, and living habits. If you need the dorm room to be spotlessly clean, be honest and tell them. If having a lot of friends over every night is something you plan on doing, say so. Then get ready to compromise if your ideas of good living habits vary from theirs.
Communicate with and respect each other. You do not have to be best friends. You might be! But, you don’t have to be. As long as you keep communication open and respect your joint living space, you will be just fine and freshman year will be a breeze.
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College roommates can be a crap shoot. If you go in blind, chances are you could end up with someone who is really different from you. It’s obviously important to be open-minded and remember you can learn a lot from people who are very different and might not have much in common with you. This is not a reason to be unfriendly, be close-minded, or to leave your room.
That said, sometimes roommates can be inconsiderate, messy, disrespectful, or simply bad roommates in many other ways. Now, unless your roommate is a sociopath who does something really crazy like watch over you while you are sleeping, it’s better to try to salvage the relationship.
If you are having some sort of issue with something your roommate is doing, the answer is not to be passive aggressive. Don’t start being messy to combat them being messy, or eat their food if they are eating yours. Set a time that will be good for both of you to sit down with your roommate and talk it out in a respectful manner.
Try not to speak to your roommate in a way that will make him or her defensive. Speak about how you feel as opposed to what they are doing. After your chat, give your roommate some time to change their act. If after a few weeks things don’t seem to get better (or get better initially and then revert back to old patterns), it could be time to start exploring other options.
While moving to a new dorm can seem like a pain, a couple days of annoyance could really change your freshman year experience for the better. If things are untenable with your roommate after you have had a talk with them, approach housing advisers at your school and ask what you can do to change dorm rooms. If you are worried about things being awkward, maybe try to move to a different dorm rather than just a different room in your dorm.
Remember, talk out issues and approach discussions like an adult. But if things still aren’t working out, moving rooms isn’t the end of the world.
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