So you moved into your dorm and you're all settled in. Congratulations, you're officially a college student. You get to experience probably the best four years of your life and, as a bonus, you're finally independent and on your own. Well... there's a catch. You probably have a roommate or two.
As someone who's lived in on-campus housing, I understand both the advantages and disadvantages to having roommates and what it's like to live with people other than my own parents. You begin to learn the habits of your peers and a little of how they grew up, but unfortunately, there's always one that has a lack of cleanliness. Looking back, that person was probably me.
To help you get a good start to your first year at college, here are a few tips to living with roommates for the first time.
1. Introduce Yourself
They say that first impressions mean everything. This isn't always true when it comes to living with other people, but it can establish a healthy communication between you and your fellow peers.
This is also a great time to let your roommate know if you have anything important that they should know, such as severe allergies. Sometimes accidents will happen and it's important to be aware in the case of an emergency.
2. Designate Cleaning Days
I hate to admit it, but I was that roommate that didn't clean nearly as much as I should have. I was in and out of the dorm often enough that I just didn't want to bother, and by the time I was back in the room you can believe I was off for some sleep.
It's not a bad idea to go ahead and set days where you can keep a check on the housing and clean up if needed. If you both have an hour of free time on Thursday night, maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to go ahead and pick up those pizza boxes that you've been neglecting. Your nose will thank you later.
3. Respect Quiet Hours
This is so important. When you have a roommate, especially if you live in a group of four, the earliest to bed has the priority. If your roommate goes to bed before you do, they reserve the right to have quiet time in the dorm so they can sleep.
When there's a test coming up, it's not a bad idea to set a schedule for when you'd like to have some quiet hours in your room. It's important to have fun in college, but sometimes the noise is distracting. Always respect your peers when they need time to do their work.
4. When In Doubt, Talk It Out
Drama is going to happen and you'd be surprised how fast a pair of roommates can get heated with one another. If you have a problem with something that your roommate has done, you need to just say it upfront than let the issue build up.
Someone is going to get angry and then they're going to explode, and the last thing you need is an unnecessary argument over something that was never intended to be a huge deal. When there's a problem, the best thing you can do is talk it out. If it can't get resolved there, it's time to have your Resident Adviser step in.
5. Privacy, Privacy, Privacy
It's easy to forget that we're on our own now, and like everyone you're going to want to have friends over. Before you invite them, make sure your roommate is content with having friends over. Your room is still technically shared and they have a right to say whether or not you can have guests.
Additionally, you should both respect each other's privacy. If you lost something, don't rummage through your roommate's belongings. Communication is always the key. Just because something went missing doesn't mean it's been stolen by them.
In these kinds of circumstances, I can't help but express that communication and respect is so important to maintaining a stable relationship with your roommate(s). If something has been misunderstood, it can quickly lead to an escalated argument that could very well split you both apart later. If something's wrong, it doesn't hurt to ask.
Did these tips help? Let me know down in the comments and let me know what your experience was like!