How to get along with your Roommates
Everybody wants to get along with the people close to them at school – when living in residence, this can be really important. Your roommate(s) can still be your friends long after school ends and can create important connections, like when you’re looking for a job.
I suggest that you start early. Colleges and Universities often “match-make” roommates these days for the best possible fit; but sometimes, this doesn’t happen as smoothly as they would like. Everyone is different and has a distinct personality. This makes it very likely that not everybody will become lifelong friends. The trick, therefore, is how to get along.
Step 1. Get in touch with your roommate(s) early, before moving day; if possible. School staff will usually forward your name and connection information to your new roommates so that you can understand what to avoid, what they like, and what to do. Sometimes, it’s good to know who is bringing something (and willing to share) so that you don’t have two microwaves, two bar fridges or four toasters, for example. (Check to see what’s allowed in your residence first.
Also check for space – residence tours come in handy here – because sometimes items don’t quite fit in small spaces.)
Step 2. The first meeting! It’s best to be sociable here, and I strongly recommend that if you haven’t done so, examine what your roommates are comfortable with. If you need to, ask these questions, as sometimes parents fill out the roommate questionnaire.
A list like this can help:
Who likes to sleep in? Get up early? Go to bed early?
Are you a morning person?
Do you like to study in the room?
What time would they like to study?
What about guests? What times are best to avoid having guests?
What is the best way to contact them? (I recommend cell phone numbers be exchanged, if only to find where they are in the case of a fire alarm / drill or if you’re looking to have a quiet room.)
What are their hobbies, favourite music, favourite television shows?
Step 3. Try to work things out on your own, in case there’s friction. Sometimes being the “bigger man” can work here, and can go a long way, even if it’s something you don’t particularly want to do.
Step 4. The final ‘nuclear’ option is to involve the residence staff, or school advisors. They have training and negotiating skills to help solve the big problems, and to try to help the two (or more) of you to reach middle ground. Failing this, the staff members know that there’s a conflict, and will try their best to minimize it.
Hopefully, these guidelines help you to understand that just like the group projects you may dread having, there is always a way to work things out. It may require some compromises, but it can help make an overwhelming freshman year at your school so worth it, and you’ll always have great memories!
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