College teaches us a lot about who we are, what we want and how to find ourselves. But it also teaches us what it means to be a true friend and what relationships work and don't work, especially living with your college friends.
It's been two years since I started college and I've learned a few tips and tricks when it comes to living with new roommates. Whether you're living in the dorms or in an apartment/house, these tips will help you be a decent roommate.
1. Respect each other's space and privacy
One of the problems that many roommates encounter is that one of them does not have the same understanding of what each person needs when it comes to personal space and privacy. If you're living with your best friend, then it may be different for you since you two know each other so well. However, if you're living with someone for the first time, make sure you address what you like and don't like when it comes to personal space so that no one gets upset or causes unnecessary drama. Going into someone's room, closet etc. without their permission is not okay unless the said person says otherwise. If you can do that, you should be golden.
2. Communication is key
This is so important! Communication is vital when living with other people. The less you discuss potential issues, the more likely they will occur. Whether it's boyfriends coming over, having parties or who uses the television, having that discussion right after you move in is vital. If you don't enjoy someone touching your food or your precious movie collection, make sure you state that right away so you don't end up finding one of your DVDs missing or an empty bag of chips on the counter. As long as your roommate(s) know that you don't appreciate some things, it will help save you and your roommate(s) relationship and make your experience living with them much more bearable. Make sure you listen to them as well. Disregarding how your roommate(s) feel(s) will not help anyone. Communication will help you in more ways than one.
3. Sharing is caring
Everyone has their set of belongings that they don't want messed with by other people, and that's okay! However, when you're sharing a space with others, you are going to have to accept that some of your things are going to be used. Both of you are going to use the same television, furniture and fridge. However, always ask first if you can use something that isn't yours, unless it's a community item. During my freshman year, my roommate used some of my DVDs without my permission, and that got on my nerves since I am pretty protective of my DVD collection that I've built over the years. If she would have just asked me, I would have been completely fine with it. Sharing helps you and your roommate(s) have a peaceful experience living with each other.
4. Try as best as you can to be civil with your roommate(s)
Not every single person you live with is going to become your best friend or even your friend; you may even dislike who you're living with. If you are living with your friends, that's awesome! But remember, you may end up not being friends by the end of the year. Living with someone can change the dynamic of a friendship greatly. If you're living with someone you don't know, that doesn't mean your year is going to suck. Those can sometimes be the best roommates! If that's the case, try to get to know them; they may become one of your closest friends throughout college. If that doesn't work out, it still doesn't give you an excuse to be rude or mean to them. Be polite and talk through your issues to the best of your ability without erupting into a fight. It will save you a lot of annoying drama and headaches.
5. Most of all, have FUN!
Yes, college is hard and stressful, but it brings a lot of great experiences. Even if your roommate situation isn't what you hoped it would be, you can still find a great circle of friends to spend time with. Join clubs, join Greek life, get a job, do whatever it is to make your college years the best they can be. Enjoy your college experience as best you can, and it will give you memories to last a lifetime. I promise you, it will be worth it.