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Roommates 101

Roommates 101

All students living in double rooms will be provided with a roommate, so it is essential that you (not your parents) accurately, and completely fill out the lifestyle preferences section of your housing application. All students are required to fill out the Student Housing Preference Form, regardless whether you have a roommate in mind.

When you receive your housing assignment, you will receive contact information for your roommate. Be sure to contact your roommate and talk early about what items each of you will bring for your room. If you live close to one another, you may want to consider meeting before the beginning of the academic semester so you have an opportunity to get to know one another before the hectic pace of move-in and orientation. Remember, on-line communities like Facebook should never replace personal contact.

It’s All About Communication

After arriving on campus, you and your roommate will be given a roommate contract to fill out. This is a structured opportunity for you and your roommate to discuss the “rules of the road” for living together. Here are some important tips to consider:

Tip #1 - Speak Up

Get to know your roommate. Even if you’re not great friends, you’ll be able to get along better if you understand each other. Discuss what you expect from each other. Don’t be afraid to tell your roommate if his/her actions bother you. Let each other know when important events (tests, papers, competitions, etc.) are coming up.

Tip #2 - Silence is Golden

Yeah, we just told you that you shouldn’t be afraid to discuss things with your roommate, but you’ll probably be better off if you don’t tell your roommate about all of her/his little annoying habits. Think long term. You’re going to have to live with your roommate for an entire school year, so don’t nit-pick or judge her/him on how they act the first week of school. It takes people a while to adjust to college life and living with a stranger, so give your roommate the benefit of the doubt before criticizing his/her actions.

Tip #3 - Plan Ahead

Decide how you’re going to handle financial obligations (e.g. food) ahead of time so there won’t be any misunderstandings when it’s time to pay. You should also discuss whether borrowing or using each other’s property (e.g. stereo, clothes, toiletries, etc.) is appropriate. Establishing boundaries is fine as long as both roommates are aware of them.

Tip #4 - Establish Company Policy

Decide whether it’s acceptable to bring a boyfriend/girlfriend back to the room. Figure out how the roommate entertaining a guest will let the other roommate know when they have company.

Tip #5 - Do Unto Others

Whether you like your roommate or not, treat him/her with the consideration that you’d like to be treated with. Set an example and with any luck your roommate will catch on.

Tip #6 - Give a Little

You don’t have to subvert your personality to get along with another person, but be prepared to compromise. If you’re naturally a slob, you should learn to be neat to the extent that you don’t encroach on your roommate’s space. If you’re a neat freak, remember that your roommate may not be as offended by mess as you are.

Tip #7 - Don’t Stress

Most roommates naturally figure out how to get along even if they don’t become best friends. In the unlikely event that you find yourself in a living situation that’s unbearable, see your Resident Assistant for help