Some of you first years are probably awaiting your acceptances into campus residences, so I thought this would be a great time to share my advice about living on res—specifically with a roommate. In my first year, I was assigned to a double room with another girl. At first the thought of having a roommate was quite exciting, however, the more I thought about it the more hesitant I got. After all, I would be sharing a room with someone I had never met at that point for an entire year. What if it was super awkward? What if my roommate ended up being a horrible person? What if we didn’t get along AT ALL?!
I’m sure many of you can share the same concerns. I have heard of some horrible roommate experiences, but from my experience and that of my friends the general roommate experience is positive. The reality is that some roommates will remain at a polite distance while others may even end up becoming best friends.
My experience living with a roommate in first year was generally positive. My roommate, Clara, and I got along pretty well and became good friends. We met for the first time on move in day, and instantly got along. I think what helped us stay away from conflict was that we were both respectful of each other’s space and ensured that neither of us weren’t feeling upset, annoyed, or even left out.
My advice for you would be to be aware of what the other is feeling and genuinely put in effort to get along. The number one concern people have with roommates is that they are too loud and annoying. If you expect to talk to your roommate 24/7, it’s going to get very annoying for both of you. Make sure that you are not being so loud and obnoxious that you are hindering the other person from having privacy or even focusing on studying . Also, don’t invite all your friends over every single day—most people come to their room for peace and quite so they don’t need the whole floor hanging out there everyday. You should set aside times where you will go out and do something fun together and tell your roommate in advance when your friends will be visiting.
I would also suggest talking to your roommate about some general rules and expectations right away. For example, when you usually like to sleep, what days will you need the room to be super quiet, your idea of cleanliness, and also what things you guys are okay with sharing with one another. Another important piece of advice is to be honest. Let your roommate know if you are upset about something or if you have an issue with them. Try to solve it out between yourselves rather than building up anger and talking behind each other’s back with other friends. Remember if an issue escalates, your college will most likely have someone, such as peer counsellor, who can help you resolve the problem.
You do not have to become best friends with your roommate, but you can put the effort into getting along and make good memories with each other over the year. I would say my roommate and I were very different people, but we still got along well because we would appreciate our differences and put in effort to learn about each other’s interests. (I would make her watch all my favourite Bollywood movies, while she introduced me to a wide variety of music).
I really hope my advice will be of some help to you, and good luck!