The Secret to Being a Good Roommate

I had never, ever shared a room with anyone before I moved to college.  I lived with my mom in a house with my own room, my own closets, my own space to sleep, hang out, breathe, etc.  So sharing a small and crowded room with someone I didn’t know seemed so scary. 

I remember the day I found out who my random roommate would be.  It was a sweet looking, little blonde girl from Kansas and I was absolutely ecstatic because she seemed “normal”.   When she finally got to campus, I met her and her family and they were just as sweet as can be.  Going the potluck roommate route really went in my favor.  But it wasn’t just the fact that our personalities meshed that caused our roommate situation to work out.  We both knew and understood the cardinal rule of living with others and I’m about to share that rule with you.  If you can live by this rule, it will not only help you with your freshman year roommate, but also throughout life in general. 


Seems simple, right?  We all learned this life skill in Kindergarten, but some have stopped practicing it.  If you and your roommate respect each other, then all the other rules, agreements, etc. aren't really necessary. 

When you first come into your dorm, you and your roommate will have to fill out an agreement with questions such as, Can you have visitors over? When should lights be out? When should the TV be off? Are you a morning or night person?  My roommate and I discussed all of these and agreed that it would be a respect thing instead of a “LIGHTS MUST BE OFF BY TEN PM. IF THEY ARE NOT, I WILL GO TELL THE R.A.” (trust me, I know some people who were like this with their roommates). 

For example: I have a midterm the next day and need to study all night, but don’t want to go to the library by myself and have to walk back at 3AM.  I ask my roommate if I can stay in and study.  She respects that I have a test and says yes.  I respect that she needs sleep, so I put my headphones in, use only my desk lamp, and am very quiet. See, respect solved the issue and both parties are able to do what they please.

Another example: My roommate LOVES the show Vampire Diaries and really wants to watch the new episode but I really need to do some reading and homework.  She asks me if it’s okay if she turns on the TV for her show and I say yes and go to the lounge to read (or most likely I would take a study break and watch with her.)  She respected that I needed to do homework and asked first.  I respected that she does love that show and doesn’t have any place else to watch it, so I make adjustments to my plans. 

It seems so simple, yet so many people have issues with roommates because of respect.  If you have lived with roommates before or not, learning respect and making compromises will make your living experience go so much more smoothly.

Good luck with meeting your new roommates or reuniting with old roommates and moving in during Welcome Week!

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