When living in a dormitory, here are a few basic facts to know about the stranger that will soon be sharing your space.
1. Get to know your roommate before moving in. The first thing to do, preferably the day you move in, is talk.
Ice breakers can work by finding something in common with your new roommate, making things familiar and less awkward. Become aware of any health problems that your roommate might have. Keeping contact information for their family and close friends is always a good idea, in case of emergency.
2. Posting each other’s school schedules somewhere in your dorm is also useful. Knowing when and where your roommate is in class, will help combat safety and communication issues.
3. Study habits is also a subject that must absolutely be discussed. Some may need music or food, while others need total quietness in order to be productive. The dorms have special study rooms in every building for those that need their own study space.
4. Sleeping habits is also something that needs to be addressed. It would be nice to know if your roommate has frequent nightmares, sleep walks, or prefers to stay up all night and sleep in.
5. Food habits is also something that needs to be recognized. Unless it is is addressed, it will be uncertain if your roommate prefers to eat alone, at night, healthy, junk food, or if he or she simply likes to cook. Remembering that everyone is different can also apply to food choice. Not everyone will like the smell or will your dishes appetizing.
The messy roommate- Understand that some people can be clean freaks, while others just don’t care. Simply asking if they can pick their belongings up can avoid negative confrontation. If something has expired in the fridge, ask your roommate if you can throw it away. It is so important to establish a list of rules from the beginning. If that doesn’t work, suggest setting aside weekend mornings for a quick cleanup for the both of you to participate in.
The roommate with a significant other- If you are uncomfortable with your roommate’s boyfriend or girlfriend constantly invading your dorm, try to talk about the situation with your roommate and express how you feel. Remember that it is your room too, and you should have a voice in the situation.
The loud roommate- Some like to blast their music, carry on with long phone conversations into the night, and even subconsciously hum to themselves. If these loud habits are driving your crazy, simply ask them lower the volume and be considerate to your needs. When studying for tests, remember that you always have the option of going to the library or study rooms to get the quiet that you need. However, if it happens all the time or if it is interfering with your sleep, ask if he or she can put headphones on if she’s listening to music or go somewhere else if they are hanging out with friends.
The roommate who never leaves- Lets face it, we all need our alone time. Although it doesn’t seem like a big deal at the beginning, it may start to annoy you. Knowing each other’s schedule benefits this situation, because you can learn when you will have the opportunity to have time to yourself.
While there are many other roommate problems, most can be solved by talking to your roommate as the problem emerges. If you feel like you encounter a problem that you can’t resolve, talk to your residential advisor.