Written by: Hannah Cruz, 2019-20 Marketing Manager || RHA
If you’re like me, then you’ve probably watched TV shows or movies about college life and have made assumptions about what it is like to have a roommate! Some of these assumptions may be true and some may not. Here are 5 Myths about sharing a space and ways to handle them:
1. Pick out your roommate ahead of time – True/False?
False! Many students are nervous that they won’t get along with their roommate and then spend all summer trying to find that “perfect” roommate. While having a roommate with a similar sleep schedule and perhaps personality may be beneficial, it’s not the end of the world if you choose to have a random roommate. You may end up becoming good friends by getting to know each other. Even if you aren’t the best of friends, you don’t have to stay confined to your room. Go out and meet other people in clubs, classes, and extracurriculars. Sharing a space is about compromise and even two very different people can be great roommates.
2. If there is an issue with your roommate, it is better to just leave it be – True/False?
False! Communication is key in sharing a space. If you have a problem with your roommate or certain aspects of the room environment, it’s best to talk to your roommate first! Once you have moved in, you will go through a Roommate Agreement with your RA to tackle any rules that you want to set up about your living space. If later in the school year you are still having issues, then it’s time to once again talk with your roommate about what is bothering you. Seek out an RA if you and your roommate cannot come to a compromise and they will be there to help you.
3. You have to share everything or you’re not a good roommate – True/False?
False! Living with another person, especially for the first time, may be a big adjustment. You’re used to having a room to yourself or shared a larger space with a sibling, and now you are sharing a smaller room with someone you barley know. Sometimes you may feel that you need to share everything that is in the room. While it is good to talk to your roommate beforehand on potential communal items, like a fridge or microwave, don’t feel like you have to share everything. Communicating with your roommate about what both of you feel comfortable sharing is crucial to setting boundaries in a shared space. Remember to ask if you are unsure of what can and can’t be shared
4. If your bedtimes are different, then you cannot be roommates – True/False?
False! Getting enough sleep is an important factor to managing college life. As an incoming First Year, it’s natural to worry a bit about not having similar sleep schedules with their roommate. Even if you were used to sleeping at 10 PM every night in high school, you may end up having to work on group projects late at night or do homework in college. It’s best to know your sleep schedule and talk to your roommate about what time the lights go out or if someone needs to study in the hall lounge after a certain time. As time goes on, you will know what works best for you and your roommate.
5. You won’t have enough space for all of your stuff – True/False?
False! Your room on-campus might be smaller than your room at home and if you have to share it with someone else, you might feel as if there isn’t enough space. Combat this fear by planning out what you need to pack. Only bring the essentials. You’ll acquire more things throughout the year, especially free stuff!! Work with your roommate in arranging your furniture to maximize the square footage of your room. Make use of shelving and/or under-the-bed storage by lofting your beds. Communicate with your roommate about which part of the room is your personal space. Consider bringing a couple mementos from home to make your space comfy and unique.
Living away from home can be a bit unsettling, especially if you don’t really know your roommate yet. However, knowing common myths about sharing a space can be useful in making the most out of your Freshman year at Carolina. Don’t forget to talk to your roommate before you move in to make sure everything goes smoothly. Remember you can check your Housing Assignment by June 19th on the MyHousingPortal.