Living with roommates is so much fun. They’re people you can go to 24/7 for advice, school help, hanging out, etc. But, having roommates can also be a lot. We all need (some of us cherish) our alone time every now and again. Also, chances are your roommate is not the perfect roommate. None of us can be, we’re all different, and all have different ways of doing things. As someone who has lived with 5+ roommates every year since freshman year, I’ve gathered some tips along the way that have helped me deal with not living alone.
First thing’s first, it’s great if your roommates are your friends, but it’s OK if they’re not. During my Freshman year, there was an open bed in my sorority house that got offered up to the freshman. I got picked, and even though I was so excited to live there, I wouldn’t have a choice with who I roomed with, and I didn’t know anyone in the house at the time. Not to mention, all of the girls in the house were older than me. I was really worried about feeling isolated or excluded…until I moved in. I got a room with 3 other girls that I barely knew, all of us so different from one another, and we turned out to be great friends. That year has so many hilarious, fun memories because of them. In my junior year, I didn’t sign a lease fast enough and ended up taking the lease of a girl who was studying abroad. Once again, it was random and I was signing to live with 2 other girls I barely knew. They turned out to be my BEST FRIENDS and are still to this day.
Second, you have to be able to openly communicate with your roommates. You all are going to have different opinions on different things- there’s no getting out of that. One roommate may prefer “organized messiness” while you like things to be spotless. Maybe you both have different preferences about having people over. If you’re off-campus, you have to deal with things like utility bills, grocery shopping, parties, etc. One roommate may think that they should wait to turn the heat on until February while your other roommate is freezing and ready to turn it on in August. No matter the circumstance, there are things you and your roommate(s) will disagree on and that is okay! It’s just important to be able to openly talk about it with each other so that disagreements don’t turn into tension or arguments.
Finally, be aware of your own habits and how you go about them every day. Are you making an effort to clean up after yourself instead of letting your roommate clean the dishes at the end of the night? Are you having guests over all the time and disturbing your roommates while they work or are trying to sleep? Are you putting away your food or clothes after using them? Making a conscious effort to check yourself, too, alleviates so much unnecessary tension.
All in all- having roommates is so much fun and can really make a difference in your college experience. Enjoy it (and them), but don’t put too much pressure on yourself for the relationship to be perfect because none of us are!