College roommate survival guide


If you are headed to college soon, there are a few things you can count on: 1) you’ll miss your mom’s cooking after a few weeks of Ramen noodles and cheese sandwiches, 2) owning a parking pass doesn’t mean you’ll actually be able to find a parking spot, and 3) you’ll probably have a roommate (or two) who will test your patience at some point.

It’s never easy adjusting to living in a new place, but having to share a room the size of a walk-in closet can make anyone a little stressed out. Even if you have the chance to meet your new roommate before school begins, it’s probably not going to be smooth sailing all the time. Just like a marriage, learning to live with each other will require a little give-and-take. Here are six tips that can help you survive living with a college roommate. 

1. Be honest

If you know you are a night owl or border on being a neat freak, share this information with your new roommate. It also helps to let him/her know if you have any allergies or other issues that may create problems down the line, such as sensitivity to strong smells. Be sure to ask your roommate to share their concerns, as well, as this will help you create a schedule and a set of ground rules that work for both of you.

2. Address issues right away

When a problem or disagreement does arise — and it will — talk to your roommate immediately. Don’t complain to other people or tweet about it, instead, calmly approach your roommate and let them know what’s bothering you. Most issues will probably be small, but they can quickly get out of hand if you involve others or don’t address them right away.

3. Be respectful

The golden rule definitely applies here. Treat your roommate as you’d like to be treated. This means don’t borrow clothes without asking or eat your roommate’s food without permission; don’t show up with a bunch of friends in tow, especially if you know your roommate is planning to study for an upcoming exam; and NEVER invite an overnight guest over without discussing it first with your roommate. Be sure to keep your area neat and clean, too.

4. Keep an open mind

It’s highly unlikely that your roommate will share the same exact views with you on most subjects. When you disagree on topics, such as religion or politics, keep an open mind and consider each other’s position. College is a place to expand your mind and this sometimes means stepping outside your comfort zone or challenging your beliefs. Who knows? You may actually learn a few things along the way.

5. Don’t expect to be BFFs

I’m not saying that you won’t become best friends with your roommate, but chances are you’ll be more than happy to say “goodbye” at the end of the year. Living in a small space with anyone (even someone you already know) can be a challenge; there are bound to be some arguments and misunderstandings along the way. Don’t set yourself up for failure by having unrealistic expectations. It will be considered a victory if you finish the year with your sanity intact.

6. Coordinate with your roommate before you move in

As soon as your college provides you with the contact information for your roommate, be sure to give them a call. Discuss who will bring what, such as televisions, game systems, and small appliances, as this can prevent any bad feelings when you move in and find there’s not enough space for you both to have one of everything. If you live fairly close to each other, consider meeting for lunch or a movie. Taking the time to get to know your roommate before you head to college will help you create a bond and make the transition a little easier.

If you want to make sure you and your roommate will click, use our Roommate Match.

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