A challenging aspect of starting a semester in new housing is learning to live with new roommates. If you live on campus, the likelihood is you’ll share a room with at least one other person, meaning you’ll have no private space. This can be quite the adjustment. However, with the right strategy, you can prevent serious disagreements and other problems.
1. Reach Out to Your Roommate in Advance
Some colleges tell students who they’ll be sharing with ahead of time. If you only have a name, you’ll need to search on social media. If you’re lucky, though, your school will provide you with your roommates’ email addresses. Take advantage of the opportunity to get to know them. This will make things much more comfortable when move-in day comes around.
Don’t feel intimidated about reaching out to your roommates. In fact, if they don’t reach out first, it’s most likely because they feel just as anxious as you. Start with some small talk, such as asking about where your roommates live at the moment or what they think of the university. Try to keep the conversation going by finding out if you have any interests in common.
It’s best of all if you move away from text messages and have a brief video chat instead. Alternatively, if you live near each other, see if you can arrange to meet up.
2. Set Some Ground Rules
Your roommates will immediately dislike you if you start reeling off a list of rules you expect them to follow. Nonetheless, it’s essential that you communicate any basic expectations you have. For instance, you may need to set standards for cleanliness, decide how you’ll divide the space, and agree to when each of you can have guests over.
It may happen that one roommate bothers the others without realizing it — for example, by keeping the light on too late at night, listening to music without headphones, or even hitting the snooze button repeatedly in the morning. Instead of silently stewing and growing resentful, it’s important to address such issues politely when they crop up.
3. Spend Time Together
Doing activities together as roommates will help you develop a bond. This is important because you can’t just expect to bond naturally — it’s possible to live with someone an entire semester or more and still feel like strangers. In those first few days, you may like to decorate your room, tour the campus and its surroundings, or attend events together to start meeting new people.
4. Don’t Expect to Be Best Friends
It’s rare for randomly-assigned roommates to become best friends. In fact, it’s great if you can become more than just mere acquaintances. Make sure you still put in the effort to meet plenty of other people, such as at clubs and organizations where you can find friends who share your passions.
One way to avoid roommate problems is by renting an apartment for college students instead of living on campus. Although you will still share some living spaces, you’ll at least have your own private bedroom. At Foundry First, you’ll receive a suite that you’ll share with just three or four other people. Plus, we’ll match you with roommates who have similar interests and lifestyles to reduce any risk of conflict. Schedule a tour to check out our student housing for yourself.