Unless you plan to live at home while attending college, you’re going to be faced with sharing personal space, bathrooms, TV’s, closets and much more. Whether randomly assigned or your best friend, getting along with your college roommate can be a tricky situation because sharing space with others is not always easy. Here are some tips that can help the transition go more smoothly.
Get to know your roommate.
Before school starts, spend time together to learn about each other’s hometown, friends and family. Knowing a bit of your roommate’s background will help you understand them and hopefully get your living situation started off on the right foot. You don’t have to be best friends, but showing mutual respect will make for better living conditions.
Make sure you and your roommate clearly state boundaries. Topics such as quiet/study time, having guests in your room, cleanliness, borrowing clothes, and bed time are all subjects that should be clearly communicated to one another. If you just plan to “wing it,” you may end up crossing the line and feelings are going to be hurt or resentment will set in.
Learn to communicate.
Be clear with your message but don’t forget to listen as well. You will achieve very little if you don’t communicate and actively listen to resolve issues.
Talking directly with your roommate is always better than talking behind their back! Approach your roommate in private, when they have time to hold a meaningful conversation, and be clear about what is bothering you.
Consider alternate ways to solve conflict.
While texting or e-mailing your roommate is not ideal, it will allow you to write down your concerns and edit the message before sending it. For those who get stressed out over confrontation, this may be a good solution.
If you and your roommate cannot find a compromise to your issues, it may be time to get your RA involved. They are trained to deal with such situations and can usually help find reasonable solutions.
Make other friends.
Forming other friendships is essential in having a good college experience. To expand your circle of friends, consider joining a fraternity/sorority, get a job on campus, join clubs/organizations, and attend college functions.
They say that college is supposed to be the time of your life! Don’t stress, stay flexible, accept your roommate for who they are, and learn to let the small things go. Consider all of the positives that come with having a roommate. Although you may be opposites, your strengths and weaknesses may complement each other. Who knows, in the meantime, you may have just found your best friend for life!