Going away to college involves adjusting to a wide range of life changes. Learning to live with a roommate is one of the more significant. Students arrive at college having experienced many different potential living situations beforehand. Some lived in small houses and shared a room with siblings. Some were only children living in large estates. Of course, there’s also everything in between those extremes.
Now, they’re all forced to live together in small rooms with someone they’ve probably never met before. Understandably, this is an intimidating situation for many.
That doesn’t mean it has to be. If you’re going off to college, keep these tips in mind to ensure you and your roommate get along.
3 Tips for Getting Along with a College Roommate
Be a Good Roommate
This is the first tip because it’s the most essential. Many who worry about getting along with their college roommate fear they’ll end up living with someone who doesn’t respect their space. Maybe they’ll spend all their time in the dorm, giving you no privacy. Maybe they won’t keep their area of the room clean. Maybe they’ll constantly invite over guests.
Again, these are understandable concerns to have. You just need to remember that your future roommate almost certainly has the same worries about you. You’re concerned that they won’t respect your space, but the fact is, it’s their space too.
Even if you don’t end up becoming best friends, you’re far more likely to have a good college roommate if you are a good college roommate. That means understanding your roommate will need privacy at times. It means doing your part to keep the space clean. It means considering whether something you’re doing, whether it’s listening to music too loud or talking on the phone all the time, would frustrate you if your roommate was the one doing it. Remember to see the situation from their perspective.
Establish Expectations Early
You don’t want to be too strict or serious when first meeting your college roommate. It’s important that you try to make your initial interactions as friendly as possible.
That said, early in your time living together, it’s a good idea to establish certain reasonable expectations. This prevents conflicts later.
For instance, perhaps your roommate asks if you can spend the night at a friend’s dorm so they can bring a romantic partner over. Maybe the first time they ask, you say yes, because at that particular time, you don’t mind doing so. However, now they might assume you’ll always say yes when they make such requests. If you don’t in the future because they make the request on a night when you don’t feel like staying elsewhere, they may get upset, because they thought you established the expectation that you’ll let them have that type of privacy when they ask for it. In your mind, however, the expectation may have been that you’ll say yes if you feel comfortable doing so.
Confusion resulted because you didn’t establish expectations clearly ahead of time. This led to conflict you could have easily avoided.
Address Issues Early
Even if you and your college roommate like one another, living in a small space with another person isn’t easy. You’ll both be annoyed with each other at times.
Address these issues sooner rather than later. Minor problems turn into major conflicts when you let them fester.
None of this is to worry you about the experience of living with a roommate. On the contrary, when you know how to get along with them, your relationship can be positive and rewarding for both of you.