How to Deal With a College Roommate

Moving to college is already hard enough, but now you are faced with something even more daunting: living with a complete stranger.  Immediately you begin to think of all of the things that could go wrong with rooming with someone that you have never met; I know that I certainly did.  I remember hearing all of the horror stories my older brother would tell me about his bad experience with a roommate his freshman year.  So when it became my time to go off to college, I did all that I could to find a roommate that I would enjoy.  To my luck, I did and it made my freshman year that much more enjoyable.  Finding a roommate is very hard and living with them may even be harder, but follow this guide and you BOTH will surely be able to survive with one another.

My first piece of advice would be to use different social media outlets as a tool to your advantage.  Many students do choose to go in completely blind and be randomly paired with someone; that is completely fine!! However, in my opinion, I think it really helps to find someone that shares some of the same interests as you; this way, you both won’t be miserable when first starting to live together.  Most likely your class at IU has a Facebook page; use this site!  It was on my class’ Facebook site that I found my roommate.  The best part though, was that it was very easy.  I simply just posted a short bio about myself and my different interests.  Do not feel afraid or embarrassed to do this, trust me so many people do this! If you read someone’s bio that interests you, then contact them.  They will be just as happy to talk to you.  This is such an easy and effective way to not only start getting to know some people, but also maybe even finding your future roommate.

Now I am not going to lie, this method doesn’t always work.  So don’t just assume that if you find someone that you two will both show up at IU and be best friends.  I have also even had friends that found their roommates over summer and became best friends with them, but once they started to live together, they strongly disliked one another.  However, do not be discouraged because this is not the end of the world.  You can choose to live a miserable semester with a roommate that doesn’t listen to you, or you can do all that you can to make the best of the situation.  One very important piece of advice that I have is to, whether or not you and your roommate get along, set up “room rules” as early as possible.  “Room rules” are just simple guidelines that you and your roommate can set at the beginning of the year about what you can and cannot do in the room.  These rules can be things regarding TV hours, talking on the phone hours, bringing guests over etc.  It’s in these rules that you help to set a guideline from the very beginning of school so that you both know what is acceptable or not and so this not any miscommunication.  To go along with these rules, you and your roommate will also be signing a “room contract” at the beginning of the year (these will be given to you by your RA’s).  Like the “room rules”, this contract has both of you sign and put in writing the specific rules of your room.  This is simply done so that if down the line, hopefully not, you and your roommate get into a disagreement about a rule, your RA can pull out your contract and you both can see what you agreed upon in your contract. 

Probably the most important thing about dealing with a roommate is to always communicate with each other.  Start talking to each other as soon as you find out that you are rooming with each other.  But most importantly, continue to talk to each other during the school year.  If there is something bothering you that your roommate did, talk to him or her about it.  By keeping your problems inside and not communicating, this can only lead to something more serious down the line.  And say that you are the one being confronted by your roommate.  I know that you may not always agree with your roommate’s opinion, but you still need to respect their wishes.   If you respect their wishes, they in turn will respect yours.  Part of sharing a space with someone is also learning to treat each other as you would want to be treated.  I know that may sound a little cheesy, but it is true.  Treat each other kindly, even if you are not the best of friends.  This is not only the right thing to do, but it will also save you from a lot of drama and make your first year of college even better. 

Lastly, have fun! College is said to be some of the best years of your life; I can surely agree with that statement.  Sadly though, these years also go by very fast.  As I am writing this, I am coming into the last few weeks of my freshman year.  Even though I have just begun my college journey compared to some other students, I still can’t believe that I am a quarter of the way done.  It feels like just yesterday I was standing in your shoes, anxiously waiting to arrive at IU.  Your college experience is ultimately what you make it.  Don’t be afraid to reach outside of your comfort zone and meet new people; in fact you can start with your roommate!  Use your roommate as someone to help you get through freshman year, because they are in the same shoes as you.  Be kind to one another and make the most out of IU.

-Kellie Jahncke

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