The hardest part of the first few weeks of school – other than missing home – is navigating the tricky waters of cohabitation. Sure, you may have had a sibling in the house with you, but chances are, you’re completely new to sharing a living space with another adult! Here are a few tips to help you cope with your new roomie.
1. Designate Chores. I know it sounds super basic, but you don’t want to find yourself embroiled in a passive aggressive trash war, nor do you want to feel disrespected because your roommate never takes a turn cleaning the bathroom – gross!
My roommate refuses to go into the trash room, and I hate scrubbing the shower. That’s our compromise.
At the very least, have a verbal agreement of who does what each week. Your RA should have Roommate Agreement Forms for you when you move in. You might think it seems silly, but it will most likely come in handy someday.
2. Talk About Boundaries. It’s okay if you’re not cool with your roommate bringing his girlfriend over all the time, and if you would rather not let your roommate borrow your hairdryer all the time, that’s fine, too. You won’t offend them if you’re upfront about it.
What will offend them is if you “let it go” until the problem gets worse, and you end up arguing over it. Set some blanket rules like “only two sleepovers a week” or “you can use the hairdryer but not my straightener.” It’ll pay off in the long run.
3. Split the Costs. Buying things for the room can get tricky. Make sure you’re both taking turns buying things like hand soap, tile cleaner, disinfecting wipes, toilet paper, vacuum cleaner bags, and so on. Especially for girls, toilet paper can run out quicker than you think, even with only two of you! Know when it’s your turn to buy for the room, and don’t feel awkward telling your roommate it’s his or her turn. You might feel a little bit like you’re nagging, but hey, they use this stuff, too.
4. Don’t Force It. Everyone tells you that your roommate is supposed to be your first friend at college, and that’s great if it works out that way! If it doesn’t, though, don’t take it personally.[pullquote]You and your roommate do not need to be “BFFs” to live together. [/pullquote]
You and your roommate do not need to be “BFFs” to live together. It is entirely possible to be friendly towards one another without being friends. If things don’t work out and you two just don’t connect, don’t get discouraged. There’s plenty of ways to make friends on campus, and those are the people you’ll end up living with from now on.
The only other advice I have for you is not to stress out! Most likely, your roommate is just as new to this situation as you are. Be yourself, loosen up, and have a good time. College is about more than classroom learning. You also learn a lot about yourself, and living on your own with a roommate is a great way to do that!
Lauren Christ is a third-year student majoring in communications studies. She can be reached at LC805869@wcupa.edu.