For many people, especially freshmen, living with someone new – often times a virtual stranger – can be a source of stress and frustration. For anyone who’s new to the roommate situation, or anyone who just needs a refresher course, here are a few ways to make the most out of your new environment, and to save you hair tearing out and sleepless nights – you’ll get plenty of those as it is!
1. Do your part. Basically, if you make a mess, clean it up. Mom and Dad aren’t there to do that stuff for you anymore, and chances are, it’ll really get on your roommates’ nerves. Don’t leave your empty Starbucks cup or your Lean Cuisine wrappers lying all over the place. The same goes for dirty clothes, or really any of your belongings. Don’t encroach into your roommate’s space either. How would you like to come home and find someone else’s laptop and lunch detritus strewn all over your desk?
2. Be courteous. If your roommate is sleeping, it’s probably not the best time to blast your stereo. If they’re studying in a shared space, don’t flop down, flip on the television and proceed to crunch loudly on chips and yell at the game show contestants for the next two hours. Sure, they could go somewhere else, but chances are, they were there before you were, and using that line won’t win you any favors with them.
3. Always ask. Want to have a party in your dorm? Ask your roommates. Inviting your boyfriend over for the evening? Ask your roommates. Want to borrow a top, some food, or really anything that doesn’t belong to you? Make sure to ask! Even if your roommate seems cool, and has already said to use anything you want, there’s a good chance they’ll come to regret those words if you’re constantly into their stuff. Just be polite and conscientious.
4. Communicate effectively. If there is a problem with your roommate, don’t go to the RA or another authority figure first. How would you like to be completely blindsided like that? If you’re annoyed or frustrated with something they’re doing, calmly bring it up. Don’t get in their face about it, that can get ugly in a heartbeat. Just rationally spell out what the issue is. It’s highly possible they didn’t even know it was bothering you!
5. Make a chore chart. It might sound silly- after all, you’re in college, not kindergarten! But if you want to live in a clean environment, you need to sit down and talk about who’s going to do what task, when, and how often. That way there’s no confusion, no hostility, and everything will be getting nice and tidy. You don’t have to be completely controlling about it, but if you make a nice little chart and hang it on the wall, everyone will be a lot more likely to remember (and attend to) their duties.