by Abby Metty
College students have many adjustments to make when they first start living away from home, and one of the most important transitions is learning to get along with your roommate.
I have lived with a different roommate each year of college so far, so I know how important it is to make the time to get to know your roommate. Rochester College’s student development staff also pitched in with ideas on the best ways to get along with your roommate.
1. If you know who your roommate is going to be before school begins, contact them.
Introduce yourself via social media or phone, and get to know each other before the semester begins. Items to discuss include where you live, your hobbies, how you found out about Rochester College and how you want to decorate your room. Taking this step will allow you to get to know your roommate a little better and will make move-in day less chaotic.
2. Schedule. Schedule. Schedule!
Compare your class schedule with your roommate’s schedule to help you plan your morning routines and help you know where each other will be during the day. Then, put together a cleaning schedule. Be sure and share the load and be aware of each other’s space and cleaning preferences.
3. Be mindful of your roommate.
Always keep your roommate in mind when hanging out in your room. You may have different schedules and not see each other often, but if you’re both in the room at the same time, then you need to be respectful. Don’t play music if they are trying to do homework or if they are napping. At night, you could set up a “quiet hours” schedule to ensure you are not going to bother your roommate.
Sharia Hays, RC’s assistant dean of community living, recommended students use caution when choosing roommates. "Sometimes living with someone you know doesn't always work the best,” she said. “Living with someone and being friends with them are two different experiences and can be either good or bad.”
4. Communicate with each other!
Communication is probably the most important factor of getting along with your roommate. Talk about issues you are having when they occur. If there’s no communication, then you will most likely have a bad experience living in a dorm.
Holly Monte, resident assistant in Ferndale, said the best tip she has is to communicate about problems directly to your roommate. “Do this before you communicate it to others,” she said. “A lot of times, people tend to tell their friends about the problems they have with their roommates, and gossip about them, but they haven't even told their roommate about the problems! This doesn't help the situation. It makes things worse when your roommate hears through the grapevine that you were speaking negatively about them.”
She also said each person needs to be open to communication. “Basically, the right communication is key! Listen to your roommate when they come to you with problems they have about rooming together…. Be sure not to be too defensive,” Monte said.
5. Lastly, hang out together!
Whether it is eating a meal, doing homework, or going to a sports event, make time to get to know each other and do stuff other than sitting in your dorm room. Your roommate can become your best friend and this could make or break that happening.
“Be up front about your expectations for the roommate relationship: Are you just roommates? Are you friends that socialize outside of your living space? Etc. Some people assume that their roommate is going to be their best friend and then that is not the case, which causes hurt feelings,” Hays said.
It takes effort, but following these five steps will hopefully help you get along with your roommate.