Roommates 101

Living with a roommate, and college in general, is a big adjustment for everyone. We believe that living with someone else is an important part of your college experience as it provides you the opportunity to learn from someone different than yourself. Your Resident Adviser (RA) will assist you and your roommate(s) to complete a roommate agreement during the first few weeks of the semester. The roommate agreement is a tool to assist residents in opening the lines of communication between each other and establishing guidelines for the living space. Even if you have your own bedroom or know your roommate(s), completing this agreement is important to have a positive living environment. Below are some tips on fostering a successful roommate relationship.

Get to Know Each Other

Get to know your roommate by attending programs and events, seeing a movie or grabbing a bite to eat together. Setting aside time to spend with one another will help you begin to understand each other better.

Be Open Minded

You and your roommate(s) will be different. People communicate differently, so make a genuine effort to open up to your roommate. Keep a positive attitude and an open mind. You can learn a lot from someone whose background, culture, values and interests are different from yours.

Set Clear Expectations from the Beginning

In order to avoid frustration, discuss individual expectations with your roommate(s). You will probably be surprised how many you have in common but there will also be some differences. Coming to a common agreement on what is expected for your living space is an important part of living with another person. Some topics you probably want to discuss are sleep schedules, visitors, borrowing and sharing of items, conflict resolution and cleanliness.

Address Issues Early On

Most problems can be resolved with communication and works best face to face instead of through e-mail or text message. Address concerns early on so they do not build up into something bigger. Set aside a specific time to speak with your roommate when neither of you will be distracted by other responsibilities. Listen to each other and talk openly and honestly. Your RA can assist in facilitating the conversation if needed.

Give Each Other Space

Sharing a room is a big adjustment for many people. Even if you are best friends, being together all the time can be too much. Spending time with other friends or alone will only improve your roommate relationship.

Respect Your Roommate's Belongings

Everyone has a comfort level for sharing items with roommates. Always ask before you borrow something and do not assume if your roommate lets you borrow something one time that you can borrow it the next time without asking.

Schedule Study Times

Communicate with each other when important events (papers, projects, tests) are coming up. Please be respectful of your living space as a place to sleep and study. Utilize the residence hall community place as a quiet place to study too.

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