Many people are excited for their freshman year in College, what with the new environment and experiences waiting for them. But on top of those, they’ll be living away from their families for the first time. To many, such freedom means a chance to grow, discover their own identity, and meet more people and go to as many parties as possible.
And where would all that start if not from a roommate? College freshmen who are moving into a dorm are usually assigned a roommate on their moving-in day, though some are given the option to live with their friends. Letting companies, such as HOP Ltd, also give college students a choice to live alone, or in a share house with friends or total strangers. If you’ve chosen to live with a roommate that you haven’t met yet, it’s crucial to note that the life you’re imagining won’t likely be your reality.
Of course, it doesn’t mean that living with a roommate will be a nightmare. But it definitely isn’t slumber parties every night, movie nights, and solemn study sessions where you push each other to your greatest potentials. In reality, you’ll encounter disagreements, discomfort, privacy issues, and possibly, serious fights.
That said, here’s everything you need to know about living with a roommate in College:
You and Your Roommate May Choose Not to Be Friends
You don’t have to be friends with someone to live harmoniously with them. As long as you’re communicating well, you know each other’s quirks, and you respect each other, your dorm life will be peaceful and sustainable.
Therefore, discuss your quirks as soon as you meet your roommate. It might be uncomfortable, but since you’ll be living together, you have to put down your walls and get real with each other as early as possible. Tell them what time you’ll be waking up, your bathroom use patterns, your eating habits, and whether you’re a clean freak or a messy person. Share your idiosyncrasies as well, no matter how strange they are. They deserve to know if you like to play loud music while studying so that you can reach an agreement on how to not to disturb the other during those times.
Discuss the things that annoy you as well, even those that seem silly. When you know each other’s daily routines and living requirements, you and your roommate will live in peace, even if you don’t choose to become friends.
You May Live With More Than One Roommate
Social butterflies may prefer to live with a group, as opposed to sharing a dorm with a single person only. Some sharehouses allow up to nine residents, and guests of up to ten people or more. This can be a good option if you’re an extrovert who thrives in the presence of other people, but there are nasty downsides to such a living situation. If most of your housemates aren’t good at tidying up, then expect to constantly see unwashed dishes piled on the sink, discarded clothes scattered on the floor, and people partying nearly every night.
Still, not all sharehouses are inhabited by unruly residents. The key to finding one that offers a good quality of living is researching, reading reviews, and asking landlords how they screen their tenants.
Focus on Solving Small, Everyday Problems
Small problems can become sources of major conflict if not addressed and solved immediately. Hence, see if there’s a way to eliminate recurring problems. For example, if you and your roommates often squabble about missing toilet papers, then start making an inventory of all your bathroom supplies regularly. That way, you can always ensure that your toiletries are well-stocked.
Set guest policies as well to avoid dealing with disturbances when you or your roommates invite people over. Make it clear that you are free to decline guest requests, and to tell one another to consider going to another house or bar instead to hangout.
Beware of Roommate Horror Stories
Some people can do unthinkable things just to spite or get rid of their roommate. A famous story of such is Jazzy Rowe’s, who was poisoned by her roommate in 2017 when she was attending a university in the United States. Brianna Brochu, her roommate, admitted being guilty of Rowe’s accusations, causing her to get arrested.
While not all spiteful roommates will go as far as commit a crime, they can still make your dorm life miserable, or just plain stressful. So guard your belongings carefully, and immediately report your roommate’s acts that may affect your safety.
It’s definitely not perfect but living with roommates is still a valuable experience that brings plenty of life lessons. Even if you end up with someone you don’t get along with, the experience will still teach you how to handle conflict, and how to value respect in all your relationships and affiliations.