What can you do to prepare yourself to have a college roommate?
Or, more specifically, how to BE a good college roommate.
Even if you’re used to sharing a room with siblings, sharing a college dorm room is a completely different experience. It’s no longer “tackle each other and then go tell Mom” conflict resolution. Adjusting some of your habits BEFORE coming to college can help you be a great roommate.
1. Contain your mess: If you aren’t the cleanest person and know you won’t be able to magically become clean, try to keep your mess in a certain area. That way, when you’re squeezed into a dorm room, at least your mess will remain in your area and not overflow into your roomie’s side. And don’t be dirty. There’s a big difference between dirty and messy… if it smells, throw it out!
Take your trash out, wash your dishes, throw out old food, wash your clothes (start doing your laundry at home).
2. Learn to speak up if something’s bothering you: This is a difficult thing to do, but it’s an important life skill. Rather than letting conflict boil under the surface, bringing issues into the light avoids bigger, future problems. Be respectful and calmly listen to the other person’s point of view.
3. Try to be aware of the people around you: some common problems of miscommunication/unawareness of roommates include:
Keeping the lights on late at night while another roommate is asleep
Constantly hitting “snooze” at 7 am when your roommate doesn’t have class until 10 am
Having too much social time in your room when your roommate has a lot of schoolwork
Constant closing/opening of the window to the dorm room/argument about the temperature of the room
Misunderstandings about the presence of significant others
- Cultural/political conflicts