College is an exciting time filled with new friends and new experiences. Some of these experiences may include living with another person for the very first time. Whether your roommate is someone you know or a complete stranger, it’s important to know how to navigate different situations and learn to live with your roommate.
Communication is probably the most important factor in any relationship, so it makes sense that communicating well will allow for a happy living situation. It’s also important to fill out your Roompact, a digital agreement between roommates outlining each other’s rules and boundaries. When filling out your Roompact, it’s important to be as specific as possible. It may help to talk about each other’s schedules, when cleaning should be done, and when it’s okay to have people over or when a significant other is allowed to sleep over.
Just because you’re roommates, it doesn’t mean that you have to be best friends. It’s perfectly fine to have different interests and want time to be alone, so be sure to discuss what to do when one of you is feeling emotional. Talk about how you might act if you’re frustrated or sad and then discuss how to deal with it. Everyone deals with their emotions differently, so make sure you’re transparent with each other on how you cope with yours. Also, be courteous to each other because some small habits may seem like a big deal to others. You may not want to be distracting or obnoxious while listening to music, so be sure to use headphones. Instead of leaving laundry lying around the room, clean up after yourself and leave it in your hamper or in a small pile.
While communication is important, don’t forget to compromise every now and then on the small things. Nobody likes a stubborn friend, so being flexible makes any situation much easier to deal with. As long as you both show each other respect, you should be able to navigate all kinds of situations that may arise when living together. If you’re bringing your own snacks or sharing a fridge, clarify what you’re willing to share with your roommate, if anything. Never take anything that belongs to your roommate unless you ask first or you’ve already established what is and isn’t off-limits.
If you ever have issues with your roommate, don’t be afraid to go to your Resident Assistant (RA) for help. RAs are trained to navigate and resolve conflicts between roommates and build an inclusive environment for everyone. If you don’t want your RA to get involved immediately, you can send them a text and ask for advice on how to deal with the problem. If you don’t think your RA needs to get involved at all, it’s okay to simply call your roommate out on a nasty habit or unhealthy behavior if it’s affecting you negatively.
While living with another person can be an unsettling change, you’ll get used to it sooner than later. Who knows? You may even become great friends with your new roommate.
Brandon Barzola is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.