Five Tips for Roommate Survival
Since I was a little girl, actually since I was born, I have had a roommate (or “womb-mate”). My twin sister and I have shared a room right out of the womb and so I learned to share, adjust, and accommodate fairly quickly. When I moved into the Indiana Academy, I found having a roommate was easier because I was used to living with my sister, however my roommate had never lived with another girl before then. My roommate now at Olivet, has an older sister so, she has adjusted pretty well to living with another girl. Nonetheless, most incoming college students aren’t as lucky as I was, and so they get to experience their first ever roommate when they move into college.
College roommates can be great or they can miserable. Sometimes they’re based off of similar personalities, other times they’re based off of majors, and many times they’re based off of the interest in “Netfilx and food” concept found in pretty much every college Facebook group. Nonetheless, a healthy roommate relationship is not based off of the similarities between the roommates, but rather how the roommates cooperate. Roommates don’t have to be best friends to live together—it’s okay to have other friends! And so, I fashioned a list of tips to help survive the new life of having a roommate.
Surviving Roommates 101:
- Let it Go
Yes, I know this sounds like a huge Disney clique, but when you are living with another person, not everything will go exactly as desired or planned. Compromise from both parties is a key factor in successful roommate relationships. If it’s not going to matter in a few days, let it go.
- Extinguish the Spark Before It Ignites a Fire
Do not let a situation become so out of control that it explodes into a disaster. In other words, if you are frustrated with a roommate, approach the roommate directly to solve the problem. Address the situation before the situation becomes too out of control. Reminder: when addressing the situation, the solution may not be quite what you had in mind-that is OK! Come to a solid conclusion that both of you agree upon and both of you can respect.
- Be Respectful
It’s really not that hard, just be respectful. If you have a 7am lab, but your roommate doesn’t have class until 11am, don’t wake up and turn on all of the lights in the room. Just don’t do it. If you’re having a bad day, don’t take it out on your roommate. Chances are, your roommate will have some bad days too and you wouldn’t want him/her to take his/her bad day out on you. Also, don’t touch your roommate’s belongings without his/her permission or prior knowledge. And if your roommate cannot be respectful, refer to #2 and address the problem. If that does not bring about solutions, seek an RA’s guidance.
- Don’t Over Do It
It is rare (not impossible, just rare) for roommates to be best friends. Often times when roommates first move in, they cling to each other as a clutch of friendship, but after so long one of them lets go, but the other keeps holding tight. It’s great to have close relationships with your roommate, but don’t over kill it. Don’t become so clingy that your roommate can’t even breath without you having to be there. It’s okay if you guys don’t go places or do things together. One of the best experiences about college is that you can branch out and develop friendships with so many different people.
- Be Encouraging
As college students, it can sometimes become hard to feel encouraged when your family isn’t there to support you. Even with friends around you, the stress of academics, athletics, and life can hit pretty hard. One of the easiest solutions is to encourage and up lift those around you, especially your roommate. If it seems like your roommate had a bad day, then talk with him/her. Like, actually spend time LISTENING and talking. Maybe take a studying break and go on a roommate date for ice cream. Or write an encouraging note and leave it on his/her desk. Whatever you do, never get so caught up with you that you forget to notice your roommate too.
So, REMINDER: Roommate relationships are never perfect, but no matter what each person’s background or interests is, the relationship will only be great if both of the roommates want it to be great. Same goes with if the relationship is miserable—it will only be miserable if both of the roommates want it to be miserable. The key to roommate survival is wanting to have a good roommate relationship. What you make of it is what it will be.
Until next time,