Imagine being freshly 18, recently accepted into college, and just now wrapping up your senior year of high school, what has seemed to be the most hectic time of your life thus far. Your mind is riddled with anxiety of what is to come, so naturally, you do what most nervous teenagers do: something to inadvertently stress you out even more. You turn on your laptop, open up Google, and type, “roommate horror stories” into the search bar. Your screen overflows with lists of nightmarish tales of college roommates so insufferable, you naturally question whether they even could have actually existed. Your mind races with questions of the future. Will my roommate be this painful to live with?
Or even worse, could I potentially be this painful to live with? Well, luckily for you, if you are even taking the time to read an article called, “How to be a Good Roommate,” you likely are self-aware enough to spare being featured in a roommate horror story. However, it would still be in your best favor to keep reading if you do not want that to change!
How to Find Roommates for College
For many, the process of finding a college roommate seems more daunting than actually living with said roommate. Nowadays, incoming freshmen can usually find other students to live with through Facebook and Instagram groups, where everyone can post a brief biography along with a couple of photos of themselves. Involvement in these groups is vital not only to finding a roommate but also for making new friends. However, it is important to not judge your compatibility with a potential roommate through a social media group post alone.
It is recommended that you get involved early in order to have enough time to get to know different people. This can be done over phone calls and text messages. Remember, it is important not only to have a basic understanding of someone’s personality, but also of their living style. Living style can include areas like organization, cleanliness, typical wake-up times, bedtimes, and any other relevant habits. If you abide by these tips, the chances that you’ll get a good roommate in college are sure to increase!
Practice Understanding When Your First Move In
The day has come. You finally moved into your brand new dorm and are officially sharing a room with one or more people, maybe even for the first time in your life! Whether or not you are a newcomer to sharing a space, this move to college is a significant transition for everyone involved, which is something that each person will handle in a different way. For example, you may end up with a roommate who is a bit homesick, so it’s necessary that you give them time to acclimate to their new home.
Remember to Set Boundaries with Your Roommates
Although showing your college roommate understanding is an essential way to both make them feel comfortable and ensure a healthy relationship between the two of you, this does not mean that you should allow them to walk all over you. If you and your college roommate set boundaries with each other, and most importantly abide by them, many potential frustrations and arguments may be avoided. Examples of boundaries may include not touching one another’s possessions or not having over a guest without the other’s approval. An effective way to do so would be by creating a roommate “contract,” whether you do so verbally or actually write your rules down.
Give Each Other Space
Many enter college with high hopes, often believing that they will be inseparably close with their future roommate. This is definitely not true for all, and that’s not a bad thing. If it is true, it is good for college roommates to not become too dependent on one another. Even the best of friends need their alone time, which often ends up strengthening roommate relationships.
A smart way to go about this is to become involved with people and activities separate from the person you are living with. For example, do not let your roommate’s hesitance to join a certain student organization stop you! This way, you will meet new people and can avoid becoming socially dependent on one another. Remember, this is the healthiest way to preserve a friendship with someone who you are around so often.
Cleanliness, Hygiene, and Organization Are Key
These factors can seem super obvious in terms of how to be a good college roommate, but they contribute to issues between roommates just as much or more than anything else. In terms of cleanliness, make sure to clean your surfaces, and wash your clothes, towels, and sheets regularly. You also should assist in cleaning your bathroom if you are fortunate enough to have one.
As for hygiene, do not neglect showering and brushing your teeth, even if mental health issues are making this difficult. When living in such a confined space with another person, a lack of hygiene does not exclusively affect you. For organization, make sure to keep your section of the room as tidy as possible. It is all too easy for a small space to become cluttered fast, which could be distressing for your roommate if let out of control. Especially if they are putting in work to organize their side of the room.
Of course, there is much more that goes into how to be a good roommate, most of which is usually specific to your living situation and dynamic. However, if you follow these primary tips, you are guaranteed to pave your way to a healthier, closer, roommate relationship that could potentially last through all four years of college! What better way is there to commemorate these soon-to-be lasting memories with your college roommate than to frame your college degree!