The anticipation of meeting your random roommate can be nerve-wracking. You could be best friends. You could hate each other. You could simply be two people who live in the same room. Living with a stranger can be challenging, especially if you have difference schedules and personalities. When you get a roommate like Kimmy Jin from Pitch Perfect, who wants nothing to do with you, your room can turn into an uncomfortable living space pretty quickly. To ensure this doesn’t happen to you, make an effort at the beginning of the year to get to know your roommate. You don’t have to be best friends, but if you find a way to bond with your roommate, you’ll be well on your way toward cohabitating happily ever after.
1. Go to dinner
No matter how different you and your roommate may be, you’ll have at least one characteristic in common: at some point, you’ll both eat. So why not have a meal or two with your roommate and get to know each other while you’re nomming? A meal with your roommate gives you the time to get to know each other better, but is a short enough commitment that it won’t get too awkward if you run out of things to talk about. Try a new restaurant with your roommate or simply find time to meet in the dining hall — you can spend hours together trying to figure out what type of meat the “meatloaf” is.
Sarah, a junior from Wake Forest University, has dinner with her roommate every week. “We will treat ourselves and go out to dinner every once in a while, but we usually just make each other dinner and catch up during the entire process,” she says. Grabbing dinner with your roommate is a great way to periodically catch up, especially if you both have busy schedules. This technique worked so well for Sarah and her roommate that they continued it after freshman year. “We have a roommate dinner once a week and still do it to this day going into our senior year!” Sarah says.
2. Attend Welcome Week activities
One of the best ways to get to know your roommate is by going to Welcome Week activities together. During Welcome Week, your school will hold a variety of events and activities that will help you jump in to campus life. There will be events that will inform you of the clubs and resources your college offers, which will give you lots of opportunities make new friends and find where you fit in on campus. Explore the club fair and attend school- or club-sponsored events with your roomie; check with your school for a list of events going on at the start of the school year.
Lucy, a recent graduate from Boston University, says that she went to an outdoor movie that was a part of Welcome Week with her roommate freshman year. “We chatted the whole walk there. We actually stayed for the double feature, so we hung out between the movies as well,” says Lucy.
Because everyone’s nervous during the first few weeks of college, having a buddy next to you is an easy way to feel a little more comfortable during Welcome Week. And if the activities end up being boring, you can always bail together and go get ice cream!
3. Go exploring
It’s a new semester, a new town, a new school, and a new dorm; chances are you don’t know where you’ll be living for the next four years like the back of your hand just yet. Walk around campus with your roommate on a nice day and find all the buildings where your classes will be – there may be a building that is really hard to find, so having someone there next to you to help figure out where to go (without the pressure of getting to a class on time) can ease your first-day-of-class-nerves. Once you find your classes, stroll by the dining halls, student union, and fitness center. This way you’ll have a nice feel of where some of the main buildings are on campus. If you have enough time, you should also explore the area around campus. Scout out the best restaurants and stores, and see if you can find a movie theater or ice cream shop to return to the next weekend.
4. Decorate your room
You can have a lot of fun with your roommate by decorating your room together. Once you both have your own belongings unpacked and set up, talk about what you could do to bring your individual spaces together. You could get a large area rug to add a cool vibe to your room, you could string up a row of cute lights around the entire room, or maybe you could rearrange the furniture to find space for a futon! Since there’s no specified timeframe you need to finish decorating your room, take your time and explore your options. There are tons of cute dorm ideas on Pinterest that you can look to for crafty inspiration.