One thing that many people label as a true “college experience” is living with a roommate (or a few) during your first year of school. A majority of us have already experienced this, are in the process of experiencing this, or are going to experience this in the next school year.

However, whether or not you still live in a dorm, there is a possibility that you will end up sharing a room, apartment, or house with other people in the future. With that being said, I would like to discuss the several important, yet unspoken, rules that constitute being a good roommate or housemate.

Take note, because I will safely assume that a majority of what I am about to say (if not all) can be agreed upon by the general population.


Some of us have had the privilege of having our own room prior to moving into a college dorm. That being said, we may have developed a few “bad” habits over time that we unknowingly bring into a new environment.

When living with a roommate, I feel like it’s a no-brainer that you have to be more conscientious of how you act and how you live. You can’t live in the same way as you did when you had your own room, and that’s just how it is.


Disclaimer: Many of the points below may not be applicable to you if you have specifically talked to your roommate and discussed what is okay and what is not. Also, if you have known your roommate for a substantial amount of time/are very comfortable with them, then it may also not apply.*

First of all, use headphones.

If your roommate is not in the room, feel free to watch TV, listen to music, FaceTime/Skype, etc. without headphones. However, the second your roommate comes back put those headphones on and continue your business.

No one needs to listen to what you’re listening to. Secondly, your roommate might be studying or doing homework (and unless they’ve stated before that they don’t mind the noise), so use headphones.

If you decide to switch between using your phone and using your laptop, use headphones for both. If that means that you have to constantly unplug your headphones from your phone and plug it into your laptop, and vice versa, then so be it.

Secondly, if you share a bathroom with your roommate, being considerate is extremely important. This may not exactly apply to everyone, as sharing a bathroom with an entire dorm-floor is common, but the general idea of it is still relevant.

If you have a shower-caddy, don’t leave it in the shower/bathroom. Chances are, the bathrooms are already small enough so you don’t need to take up even more room with your shower caddy.

Also, once you’re done taking a shower/using the bathroom, make sure that none of your belongings are still there (some things are an exception—i.e. bathing suits). Don’t leave any of your clothes in the bathroom. You have a room/drawers for a reason.

*Note: Don’t forget to discuss regular bathroom cleaning schedules with your roommate(s).*

Third. There may be times when you are awake before your roommate if you have an earlier class. If this is the case, you have to be extra aware of how much noise you are making.

That means: don’t drag your feet on the floor/don’t walk extremely loudly, don’t open/close drawers loudly, don’t bang things around, etc.

If your roommate is asleep, respect it and be considerate.

Four. Alarms.

Everyone hates alarms. But I can guarantee that your roommate hates alarms more when it’s not theirs. Therefore, don’t put your alarm so far away from you that it takes you forever in the morning to turn it off. Not only that, but if you turn the volume on extra loud, you’re bound to annoy your roommate.

Something to look out for: If you wake up your roommate with your alarm and they end up being the person to turn it off, they’re beyond pissed.

Five. In the beginning of the year, if you asked your roommate to borrow or use one of their belongings, they most likely won’t mind. However, if it’s your tenth time asking to use the same exact thing in a short period of time, you should probably just buy it yourself (this point applies more to small items).

Granted, not all roommates will be annoyed by this. Again, it really depends on the person, and these points may not apply to everyone.

Six. Printers. I felt like this needed its own section entirely.

If you did not bring a printer to college, but your roommate did, avoid asking them to use it unless it’s an ABSOLUTE emergency and you are paying them for it. Ink is expensive and we are all broke college students with absolutely no money because we spend it on cup noodles and junk food.

If your dorm offers free printing services, use it. Besides, you technically paid for it anyways. So if you are lazy to go down to the printing center and would rather just ask your roommate to “save you the trouble,” you need to rethink your priorities.

So, what constitutes a printing emergency?

If you have a paper due at 10 a.m. and you spent the entire night and morning working on it and you don’t have enough time to run to the library, then you can ask. Otherwise, GO TO THE LIBRARY.

This will literally only take you an additional five to ten minutes.

So basically, in short, if you have enough time to go to the library or go down to your dorm’s printing center, don’t ask to use their printer unless you’re paying for it.

Lastly, know what it means to have an indoor voice.

Many of us don’t get to physically see our parents or friends during the time that we are in college. As a result, FaceTime or Skype is one of the most amazing things on the planet. Also, it’s understandable that you may experience some crazy college stuff and you want to share it with your loved ones. However, this is not justification for practically yelling on the phone to share your life.

You should have headphones anyways so I’m almost 100% sure your family/friends will hear you if you talk at a normal volume.

Overall, the point is just to be considerate. I understand that most of us might not be used to living with someone else in the room, but it’s something that we have to adapt to. That means that we have to occasionally glance over at them to see if they’re napping/sleeping so that we can adjust our behavior so that we don’t disturb them. That means that we have to start using headphones so that we don’t annoy them. That means that we can’t blast music just because we don’t have anything to study for.

Just have common sense and practice common courtesy.

Don’t be the person that your roommate trash-talks when you’re not there.