Whether you’re rooming with your best friend or a stranger, it’s no secret that college roommates can be precarious. Adjusting to a new school, coursework, and living environment can be an overwhelming to say the least. Rooming with others isn’t always an ideal situation, but these tips can make it easier.

1) Set common ground rules

Let your roommate know if you like to keep the air conditioning at a specific temperature or clean the room at the same time each week. These quirks and habits may be normal to you but could catch your roommate off guard.  Make sure you’re on the same page as far as what you expect of each other. Keep in mind that you are both adults and cannot necessarily set rules for each other. Instead, set common ground for living expectations.

2) Pick up after yourself

Because you are sharing a space with someone else, be aware of your cleanliness. Establish a mutual understanding for how clean you would both like to keep your living space and be consistent with it. Be realistic in understanding that you both have busy schedules and they may not always meet expectations. However, also know that you are adults and can pick up after yourselves.

3) You don’t need to be best friends

Get to know your roommate as a person, but don’t feel obligated to hang out with them consistently. Because you are living together, you will naturally be spending a lot of time with one another. It’s healthy to spend time apart, so set aside time to spend time with other people as well.

4) Bring issues to the forefront

If your roommate’s behavior is bothering you consistently, bring it to the forefront rather than sweeping it under the rug. Being confrontational isn’t easy, but it is healthier in the long run to bring issues up as they arise.

5) Respect each other’s belongings

No one likes to have their belongings taken or disrespected. If you need to use something, always ask first. Just because you are sharing a space does not mean you are entitled to each other’s belongings. College students are often on a tight budget, so don’t take food or other items without asking. Even if you don’t think it’s a big deal, it’s better to be safe than sorry – just ask.

6) Be careful with bringing company over

You may love having your best friends over all the time, but your roommate may not. Before bringing over company, check with your roommate to make sure it’s a good time for them. You will have to work around each other’s schedules at times, so try to be open and understanding.

7) Be kind

Treat your roommate how you want to be treated. Living with another person can be most difficult when you’re having tough days, but understand that it isn’t their fault. Let your roommate know how you’re feeling and overall, simply be kind to one another. As college students, you will both be having a lot on your plate – roommate issues don’t need to be a part of that.

8) Be responsible

With owning any living space, it’s necessary to be street smart. Don’t let strangers in and make sure to lock the doors and windows. You will have to trust your roommate to be responsible, so make sure you are returning the favor.

While having a roommate can be challenging to say the least, it’s all part of the college experience. Learning to live with another person will teach you many lessons that you can carry throughout life. Be patient, kind, and understanding, but don’t allow yourself to be walked over either. Find your happy medium and learn to love the process of getting to know your roommate and seeing them grow throughout the year. Make it the most enjoyable experience possible.

Jennifer D.
Jennifer Duplessie is a senior at Texas A&M University pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in political communications incorporating her passion for writing and photography.

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