Student Life

Finding Balance While Living With Roommates

June 1, 2021

Going off to college is an exciting part of life. However, the experience also comes with a lot of challenges. For many, this will be the first time living outside of home. While living with a roommate comes with many perks, such as lower cost of living, it’s not always an easy task. We’ve all heard those terrible roommate stories that make us cringe and feel afraid of what to expect.

Whether you’re planning on living on-campus or off-campus, here are a few tips that will make your roommate experience a positive one.  

Communicate openly

 As obvious as this seems, being out of our comfort zone puts us in a vulnerable position and can cause us to clam up, especially when we’re nervous or upset. If you’re living with someone you’ve never met before move-in day, it may take some time for you to adjust! Try looking for common ground. Maybe you’re both into the same sports or have similar music taste. Whatever it is, it’ll break the ice and have you bonding right away. A great tip would be bonding while decorating your new place, making it feel much more like home to everyone involved. 

 As time passes, you’ll become more aware of your habits and theirs. If something bothers you, make sure you talk to them about it first. Ensure you don’t complain to others about it, which may find itself back to them and create unnecessary tension. For example, if you notice your roommate is leaving their dirty clothes on the floor, you could tell them you’d appreciate it if they put their dirty clothes in the hamper. They’re more likely to do so than if you make them feel attacked by exposing others to what they do.

Learn to share and also set clear boundaries

Sharing is a big part of living with someone. After all, you’re likely sharing a common area and/or bathroom, and perhaps even a bedroom. Make sure you distribute chores evenly, whether you’re living in a dorm, apartment, or house. Some colleges require first-year students to spend their first year on campus, which will make it easier on your finances. However, living with a couple of roommates in an affordable home may end up costing you the same, and it’ll free you from dorm rules and curfews.   

If all else fails, it’s essential to know when to ask for help. If your roommate is making you feel uncomfortable or affecting your health to a point where communicating with them didn’t solve the problem, it might be time to seek help. If you’re living on campus, you can reach out to your resident assistant to facilitate resources to resolve conflicts or help you switch roommates if necessary. If you’re living off-campus, make sure to communicate your concerns to your roommate first. Most issues can be easily solved through conversation. If that doesn’t work out, make sure you read through your lease before moving out and talking with your landlord about the situation, chances are they’ll either step in or be willing to have someone take your place and print out a new lease. 

Establish rules early on

Being clear on the house rules from the beginning will save you a lot of stress and problems in the long run. Think about all the small details of daily life and talk with your roommate about how you will go about dealing with them. Are you sharing kitchen items, such as plates and silverware? What about bathroom necessities? How are you splitting the costs on shared food items? Remember that you are living with a person who may have different habits than your own. Be clear about things such as expenses, food, parties, and overnight guests. 

Living with roommates with be an adjustment if this is completely new for you. Keep these tips in mind for finding balance!

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