Finding a good roommate is no joke.
With all of the new college commits for the upcoming school year may come to the biggest challenge of all, finding a roommate. The only place to meet your first college roommate is on Facebook unless your school gives you the option of having a random roommate. Finding a good roommate may be the most stressful and uncertain part about beginning your college experience. With the experience of a bad college roommate first semester and a new, good roommate second semester of college, I've seen a lot(and I'm not exaggerating).
The following are some tips on how to find and interact with your roommate:
1. Do not have the mindset it will be awful living with another person
Living with another person may not be awful. Test the waters at college move in. Too often it's easy to put blame on the hassle of living with another person. Look at living with a roommate as a new experience and the positives of building a relationship that you may not like with another person.
2. Be truthful about who you are
The most important part when finding a roommate is being truthful about your interests and what type of person you are. This helps with photos with friends, your major, and the extracurriculars you plan to get involved in. It's perfectly okay to be undecided about your major and activities. Do not feel the need to lie about being undecided to fit in with everyone else who thinks they have it all figured out. In fact, you may decide to go random to avoid the stress of finding a roommate. Personally, I wish I had a random roommate so if I didn't get stuck with a good person, it wouldn't be mine or my bad roommate's fault. Facebook is like speed dating, which can be hard if people unconsciously don't message you back.
3. Ask about your potential roommate's normal day
Asking what your roommate does on a normal day can determine if they are serious about school, focusing on party life, do sports, etc.. In addition, your roommate might have a completely different schedule once starting college.
4. Meet with your roommate prior to starting college
Meeting up with your roommate prior to college is crucial to see how he or she interacts with others. Observe if they are respectful, manipulative, and can problem solve and work with you as a team. Communicate on who will bring things that both of you will share.
5. Have weekly check-ins with your roommate
I strongly suggest having one meal a week with your roommate as a check-in to see how they are doing and get to know them throughout the year more. This ensures that you respect them as your roommate and care about the space you share together. If not a meal, you can always do a 30-minute activity like play a game, share a funny story, take a walk around campus. This shows that you are not trying to be manipulative and really sets peaceful interactions. If your roommate doesn't care to do anything with you, they don't care about you and you need to move.
6. Do not avoid your roommate just because you don't like he or she or don't have the same interests
This is the worst thing you could possibly do to a person. You can be respectful and don't have to be friends with your roommate. The point is writing off your roommate because they are "too different" is an excuse to be disrespectful and creates a hostile situation when it doesn't need to be.
7. Show you are interested in what your roommate is doing
Keep up with what's going on in your roommate's life, ask them questions, and show that you are proud of their accomplishments. Be exciting and put a smile on your face, and show you are excited to see he or she when they've returned for the day.
8. Stay aware
Stay aware of situations on your hall, and always be monitoring how your roommate is doing. If your roommate seems to be struggling, ask he or she what is going on and how you can support them.
Lastly, it's your responsibility to be a good roommate and good servant for your college community. College is something you only get to do once and would be a shame to ruin that for another person.