If you are an incoming freshman or you are simply moving away to college for the first time and will have roommates, there are a few things you need to know.

Living with strangers can be difficult for most people. When you move in with friends, things often go a bit smoother, but living with people you do not know at all can have its ups and downs. I have a compiled a list of things that will help you have a good roommate experience.

1. Make a set of ground rules from the get go

When you arrive at your dorm or apartment, make sure to first get to know your roommates, and then sit down with them and make some ground rules. Decide on how often it is okay for people to come over/sleep over, and if parties are okay. Talking about these things early on can prevent a lot of future issues. If you are okay with parties at times but want to be informed of them, make sure your roommates know that you want them to let you know ahead of time that you are planning a party or a get together with friends. If you are planning one yourself, let the others know. This can allow for the people living with you to have a chance to leave the area during the party if they have to study for example, or to plan around it. If you are living in a dorm, make sure you know how often people like boyfriends or girlfriends can sleep over because you are sharing a sleeping space! Other rules can include things like cleaning schedules and hygiene habits. Keeping your spaces clean is essential for most people and dividing the work is important.

2. If you have a washer/dryer in the apartment take your things out on time!

When you wash clothing and do not dry them right away, they can get moldy and become ruined. Often times, people will forget to take their dried clothes out of the dryer, leaving the other person to not be able to dry their own clothes. Keep in mind that you are sharing these machines; they are not for your use only unless you live alone. Remember to take out your clothes as soon as possible. If you cannot, let your roommate know of this so that they can take it out for you to use the dryer. Many people would feel uncomfortable touching the other's clothing without permission, so make sure this doesn't happen often or at all. Set a reminder on your phone if your have to.

3. Do not make noise in the middle of the night, especially during FINALS week.

If you are living with others, you have to respect that they need to sleep. If you come in late from partying, be as quiet as humanly possible. It is not okay to barge in in the middle of the night and make noise with a ton of your friends or just you. This should be a given, but unfortunately some people do not understand this. I know many students go to party around the end of the semester, but this is a time where a lot of others are studying and trying to rest as much as they can. Please do not disrupt their sleep for selfish reasons.

4. Ask to borrow their things in the kitchen

If one of the rules you established from the beginning was that you could use each others kitchen tools, then it is okay to borrow things without asking each time. If you did not do this, make sure you ask if you can use their things. When you do use them, wash them thoroughly. Do not ruin their kitchenware because I am sure you would not want them to ruin yours.

5. Wash your dishes!

Allowing dishes to pile up in the sink is not sanitary. I am the type of person that washes their dishes as soon as I am done with them. I know that sometimes people do not have the time to stand and wash everything or to put them in the dishwasher, but time can be made later on in the day. Do not let dishes pile up forever and ever and expect your roommates to clean them for you. Clean up after yourself always.

These are just some basic rules that I have learned from living with roommates. I think that respecting others who live with you is very important. Follow these rules and communicate with your roommates so you can have a smooth school year.