How to share your home away from home.
Ah, the start of back-to-school season.
The idea of having a roommate is probably starting to sink in.
If you’re nervous- don’t worry! I asked some fellow Heels for some advice about what they’ve learned from living from a roommate, and what knowledge they could pass on to you.
Getting to know your roommate
“In some way, get into a conversation where you start talking about T.V. shows or music. And that’s a really good icebreaker because it’s just like, everyone likes music or T.V.” -Joy L.
It seems like there’s a lot of pressure to make the perfect first impression for your roommate. Every person engages in the media in some way, so you’re bound to find a way to bond. You can learn a lot about your roommate from their tastes, and potentially find your new favorite band!
Setting Boundaries with your roommate
“Honestly, communication is so important.You can’t expect that every person is going to be just like you- everyone is different. Everyone has their own quirks, everyone has their own preferences. I’ve made this mistake before- I keep things to myself. But that’s the wrong way to do it ’cause your roommate isn’t a mindreader, you know?” -Fania K.
One of the hardest situations all roommates will face is the inevitable boundary talk. Whether through the RA-given roommate agreement or independently, it’s going to be slightly awkward. Some of the boundaries you set may seem like second nature, but as Fania pointed out, your roommate isn’t a mind reader. Talking out all of rules now will save for a way more awkward conversation later.
Living with someone you already know
“Just be flexible with what happens. Even if you have known [your roommate] for a while, you probably haven’t lived with them. So if you’re rooming with someone that, like, maybe you knew from high school or something- be wary about that. Because that’s when you kind of see, like, a new side to them.” -Jacob P.
Though Jacob’s advice may seem a bit ominous, there is some truth to it. A lot of people who decide to room with a high school friend don’t realize that people are different at home than they are at school. Don’t have a set idea of how your roommate will act in a living situation, and be understanding to the new side you’ll see of your roommate.
Living with someone you don’t agree with
“Don’t take things to heart. Like, don’t be very reactive. ‘Cause, a lot of times people grow up in different environments and so they probably have different ways of communicating.” -Joy L.
You may find that you and your roommate can’t help but be at odds with one another. Joy’s advice is useful with people whose views you don’t agree with in general. Basically, be empathetic and be respectful. Even if you and your roommate don’t mesh well, you won’t run into much trouble if you act like a decent human being.
You don’t have to be best friends with your roommate, but knowing how to live with your roommate can make college less stressful than it has to be.