Sharing a living space is something that all of us have done before. But when it comes to residence halls, your living space is just one room instead of a whole house or apartment, and that one room is now shared with a person you most likely have never met. Moving is always a difficult process, even if it’s with people you are accustomed to. So, moving into a new space with someone you barely know can be even more difficult.
But it doesn’t have to be.
Many incoming first-years hear roommate horror stories from older friends who have gone to college. While that does sometimes happen, it doesn’t have to. Take me for example. I am going to be a junior at Arcadia, and I have lived with the roommate that I had as a freshman every chance that I got. So, aside from when I went to London for FYSAE, we have both eagerly wanted to remain living partners, which is something you might not often hear about college roommates, but that happens more often than you might think.
Here are some tips and tricks to help you prevent any more horror stories from happening.
1. Find someone you mesh with.
Most incoming students are anxious about who their roommate will be. If your living styles don’t mesh, then both of you might not have as nice of a time in college as you would have liked. Many students, including myself, take it upon themselves to find their roommate beforehand, instead of leaving it to Arcadia’s system to decide. In my year, many students would post a status about their interests and wants out of a roommate on their class’s Facebook page, so that other students could look through and find people they thought they would mesh with. Utilizing these resources is a nice way to find your new roommate.
2. Communication is key.
After either being assigned or finding the person you will be living with and moving in, it is important to establish clear and open communication. “Communication is key” is something you often hear about romantic relationships, but it can be applied to any type of relationship: romantic, platonic, familial, and roommate. Knowing the wants and needs of your roommate is imperative to having less bumps along the ride. Establishing boundaries with each other about the room itself, your belongings, how time is spent, and the people allowed in the room should be done first thing when moving in. Be honest with your answers, and it will prevent trouble down the line.
3. You don’t have to be best friends.
I know, this might be contradictory to what you want, but being super close to your roommate is not mandatory. Sure, it can definitely be an added bonus, but the most important thing is how both of your needs and wants are met. Being able to live in harmony is the goal, and if you gain a good friend along the way, then that’s awesome!
Even if your first roommate pairing doesn’t work out, having this experience is important. By living with another person, you learn a lot about yourself, and hopefully will have learned how to assert your needs while making sure others’ needs are met as well. Experiencing firsthand the give-and-take nature of living with someone will help you down the line, not only with situations like this, but also with communication skills in general.
As your first semester approaches, utilizing these tips can make your first year of college even more amazing.