One of the unique parts of going to college is the experience of having a roommate. Because most schools tend to put you with people you’ve never met, then force you to share small spaces with them, here are five tips to help you get along with whomever the starts align you with.
1. Know Your Deal Breakers
It’s best to go into a roommate situation knowing what you absolutely need for the relationship to work and what you absolutely cannot live with. This is something that could have a direct effect on your academic performance, so you need to treat it with extreme care. Make sure that you figure out what you need to be happy and healthy in your living space before you arrive on campus. Only then will you be in a position to ask for those conditions from your roommate.
2. Avoid Being a Control Freak
Having a roommate means you aren’t the final word in your living situation. Like a married couple, you’re going to have to share a space in a way that makes two people happy, not just one. Once you’ve identified your priorities about your living space, think about a few things that you can be flexible on. If your roommate is good about no overnight guests and lights out by 10pm, perhaps you can lighten up on where they put their shoes or whom they have over during the day. If you give a little here and there, it’ll go a long way toward them doing the same.
3. Set Firm Ground Rules
When you first meet your roommate, have a discussion about what’s allowed and what isn’t. Then write down those rules so they’re set in stone. This means you’ll have both clearly communicated what you’re willing to live with, so if either of you deviates from it, you’ll be able to have a good jumping off point to resolve the conflict. If you don’t do this, both of you can claim ignorance if you annoy each other in the future. Trust us, that’s not a situation you want to be in.
4. Remember You’re Roommates First, Friends Second
This relationship could grow into a beautiful friendship, but it’s important to remember that’s the exception to the rule. Most often roommate relationships either end in peaceful co-habitation or feuds. Don’t enter into this experience with the expectation that you’re going to be best friends. If you do, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment and friction. Concentrate on making the room a place where you both can study and sleep. Once you’ve established that,thenyou can work on the friend thing.
5. There’s No Shame in Moving
If you don’t get along, you don’t get along. It happens. While emotions can run high in this kind of conflict, it’s not a time for pride. Say you’ve always wanted to go to Alabama State University. Are you going to let a bad roommate ruin that for you? This is your living situation and it can have a drastic effect on all areas of your life. If it isn’t working out, move. If the other person does it first, that’s great. But, if they don’t, there is no shame in just getting the heck out of that situation as soon as possible. You’ll be surprised by how much you don’t care about pride once you have your peace of mind back. When it comes to personal growth, you can learn more from your roommate in college than you can from your actual classes.