By Stephanie C. | March 29, 2013
Take it from me.
I could say I don’t have the best of luck, and that would probably be a true statement.
So, it is inevitable. You go to college and you will have a roommate. That’s just how it goes.
Now that I have had two completely different roommates throughout my freshman year of college, I have a very good list of commandments, 10 in fact, for incoming freshman about the whole roommate fiasco.
1. Thou Shalt Have No Expectations
First piece of advice. Don’t come in expecting anything. So you’ve texted this person a few times about who’s bringing the fan and who’s bringing the carpet. You’ve stalked them on Facebook and Twitter.
That doesn’t mean you know them.
Don’t pre-judge. Just go into it open-minded. People are nervous about living with someone they don’t even know. Anxiety makes people weird sometimes.
2. Thou Shalt Be Understanding
Adjusting to college has honestly been one of the most difficult things I, and I’m sure a lot of other people, have ever done. It’s SCARY.
There’s no schedule yet. Nobody to tell you what to do. A bunch of people next door and everywhere. That’s overwhelming for some people. For me, I had been an only child and it was hard getting used to sharing a room!
Give your roommate some time if it’s not working out at first.
3. Thou Shalt Find Common Ground
From living in housing at The Ohio State University, I have learned that unless you chose your roommate, your roommate will be completely opposite from you. It’s really strange, these pairings they come up with, but that doesn’t mean it wont work.
You will see differences. This person isn’t your family, your friend, or your neighbor (probably). They don’t know you and you don’t know them.
Instead of looking at all the differences, try to find the things you DO have in common!
4. Thou Shalt Follow the Contract
Everyone signs a roommate contract. By this time, you can name all the pet peeves that you have with your roommate’s habits and you can lay down the law.
No alcohol, take the trash out every day, sweep up your hair – all these things go on the contract.
If you expect your roommate to abide by the contract, you better abide by it, too.
5. Thou Shalt Respect Thy Privacy
So, sharing a room with someone means being in close vicinity with their personal belongings and whatnot.
Golden Rule: if they didn’t tell you that you could, don’t (unless, of course, you feel you’re in some type of danger).
If you have questions about something that isn’t an emergency, ask them when they’re home.
6. Thou Shalt Stay to One Side
Trust me, I know dorm rooms are small, but there is absolutely nothing more irritating than another person’s stuff creeping into your already-miniscule space.
Even if you’re a little on the messy side, try your hardest to keep that mess in your space.
Your new roommate may not be messy, too.
7. Thou Shalt Keep Clean
This isn’t just about the room. This is about you, yourself, and you.
This means shower. This means wash your clothes. This means wear deodorant. This means change your sheets.
Please don’t make me explain further.
8. Thou Shalt Have Courtesy
Everybody has their friends, and that doesn’t always mean your friends are your roommate’s friends. Key in to his or her reaction to your buds. You can always meet in someone else’s room. Always ask if it’s okay to have someone over to study or hang out.
This includes over-night visitors. ASK FIRST. You might know they’ll say yes, but ask anyway. You share a room.
And please remember, this includes music. You may like your good-‘ol rap music, but that doesn’t mean your roomie does. Make sure headphones are on your packing list.
9. Thou Shalt Learn to Share
Not only are you sharing a space, but it’s highly likely that you will be sharing items too, such as a fan, a lamp or a coffee maker. As long as they’re respecting your things, why not just share?
My roommate and I share food. It’s easier to buy just one carton of milk or loaf of bread than have two with our names on either one.
This also include sharing the responsibilities of cleaning the room. Hey, it’s necessary.
10. Thou Shalt Realize It May Not Work
There is always a possibility that you and your roommate may not click, no matter how hard you try. Trust me, I’ve been there.
If you are in a situation where you truly feel absolutely uncomfortable and unhappy, realize that it is okay to request a room-change. Talk to your RA about how you feel and the problems you’re having.
College is a completely new experience and it’s totally understandable to worry about the roommate situation.
Hopefully my tips help a little bit :)