Living on campus is a ton of fun. At no other point in your life will all of your best friends, your bedroom, classes, organizations, parties, dining, events, and often work be within walking distance from one another.
Living on campus usually comes with having to share a room with another person: your roommate. This is a blast! If you’re on good terms with your roommate it’s like having a sleepover with your best friend every night.
However, a lot of people go into their Freshman year terrified of what would happen if their roommates don’t get along. Take a deep breath, I’m here to help.
Depending on what school you go to, your housing situation differs. You may have multiple roommates. You may have to share one 10 by 10 box of a room with another person. You may have a living room and bathroom that you share with a minimal amount of people. You may even have a kitchen. You may have a room to yourself. You may have to share a bathroom with the entire floor.
You’ll hear this over and over again before going away to school, “you don’t have to be best friends with your roommates, you just need to tolerate each other.” While this is true, it really varies from person to person. My Freshman year roommate is currently one of my best friends. My Sophomore year roommates were a complete nightmare and literally bullied me and threatened me into moving out of our room. Now my current roommates are pretty nice and we get along well.
Here are a couple of things to help you in being a good roommate to help keep your rooming situation as painless (and maybe even fun, what?!) as possible.
1. The Golden Rule
First and most importantly: follow The Golden Rule. That is “treat others the way that you want to be treated.”
If there’s only one thing that you read or get out of this post, let it be that.
I try to follow this rule in every aspect of my life. Respect the space, respect each other. It makes life easier.
This really is shown throughout the next points as well.
2. Only Eat / Use it if you Buy it
This is more of a problem than you would think.
College students are on a budget, many take out student loans, work full time jobs, and will still be in debt by the time they graduate. You need to respect that. If you use their stuff that is spending their money.
You didn’t buy that milk that has your roomie’s name on it? Don’t drink it.
Out of eyeliner? Don’t steal your roommates, just go without for the day until you can go to the store.
Of course this does change if you ask, for example maybe you need some onions for a recipe and realize that you’re out. Ask your roommate if you can use one of their onions and offer to pay them back by buying them an onion next time you go to the store.
On that note, also be sure to respect your roommate’s things that they do let you use. If the couch in the living room doesn’t belong to you, be sure to clean up any spills that you have on it and make sure to keep it in decent shape.
Your roommate will be forever grateful I’m sure!
3. Considerate Hours
We’re not talking having strict “quiet” hours, just be considerate of your roomie’s sleeping schedule.
Perhaps you notice that your roommate likes to go to bed a little earlier than you, say 11pm, when they have work the next morning. You, on the other hand, do not have work or class the next day and decide to go out with some friends. You all return to the room at 3am having a great time and being really loud. Talking, playing music, laughing.. all those sounds carry.
Take a moment in this instance to think if your roommate might be trying to get some sleep. Is their door closed? Their light off? Is it late? Consider asking your friends to quiet down or move to a different apartment, or outside.
This will come back to be a great thing for you. Your roommate will be in a better mood because they will have slept well, you will have expressed to them that you are considerate about their needs, and they will keep that in mind for when the roles are reversed and you’re trying to get some shut eye in!
4. Cleanliness is Godliness
Ok, “cleanliness is Godliness” is a little much.. but a little Windex and a Lysol wipe or two can go a long way. No need to be spotless, just hygienic.
If you have a bedroom to yourself, that’s your room. Go crazy. However, any shared spaces should be respected.
Consider making a super simple roommate chore chart, it helps a surprising amount!
If you don’t want to make a chore chart, at least do your part in taking out the trash every once in awhile (preferably before it is over flowing) and maybe wipe down the kitchen counters like once a week. You’ll be surprised how that can lift your mood and make you feel more comfortable in your own room!
5. Show Support
Maybe you chose who you live with, maybe you just needed a space and so you live with someone random. Either way, take an interest in your roomie’s life!
I went into my new housing situation with absolutely no idea who my roommates were, and the last couple of weeks we have gotten to know each other pretty well and it’s paying off. Next time you see them heading off to work, ask where they work. What’s their major? What year are they in school? As they walk out the door, tell them that you hope they have a good day or do well on their big exam.
Overall showing support to your roommates and an interest in their lives will boost their mood and your own. A little sincerity goes a long way and will make it a little easier to live in the same proximity as them.
What do you do to make sure you have a pleasant experience with your roommates?