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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

Most students at FSU that choose to dorm are randomly assigned roommates. For an introvert like me, the idea of rooming with a total stranger was something that filled me with a quiet dread the entire summer leading up to my first semester in college. While the prospect of rooming with strangers is overwhelming, I also wanted to have the experience of living on campus. This meant I would have to face my fears and learn how to co-exist with strangers I had never met before. To my surprise, having random roommates has been a great experience so far and it hasn’t been nearly as scary as I imagined. However, there are key steps that my roommates and I took to ensure that our experience wouldn’t be miserable. I recommend everyone who wants a good experience with random roommates to follow these key steps when establishing your relationship with your roommates. 

Tip #1: Your roommate is not a built-in bestie! 

We’ve all heard the stories in movies or on TV of people who instantly click with their roommates and are inseparable from the moment they meet. While this romantic idea of a college roommate is ideal, it’s unfortunately not realistic. Your roommate isn’t required to be your friend and forcing such a relationship isn’t a good idea. The best way to establish a good relationship with your roommates is to prioritize communication and mutual respect from the very beginning. After reaching out to my roommates over the summer, the first thing that we did was make a group chat. Most of the dorms at FSU are set up Jack-and-Jill style, so being able to communicate with your roommates and suitemates is essential. Communication is imperative for establishing boundaries and ensuring that everyone that you are living with feels respected. The best part about open communication is that it fosters healthy relationships, so you may eventually become friends with your roommates! However, if you want to get to that point, you have to put in the work to create a mutually beneficial environment. 

Tip #2: Divide responsibility 

I dreaded doing chores when I was living at home but having two siblings to help me out made it easier for me. With my busy schedule, having to do all the chores would have been overwhelming. Luckily that wasn’t the case because I could always rely on them. The same thing goes for you and your roommates. You all will get very busy very quickly between school, clubs and hanging out with friends. You might not spend very much time in your dorm room at all. It’s still very important to maintain a healthy and clean living space and dividing the work will be essential for this. While it may be difficult to commit to, setting up a system where basic chores like taking out the trash, sweeping the floor and cleaning the bathroom are divided amongst you and your roommates will make it easier. It will also ensure that all the responsibilities are not put on one person. 

My roommates and I formulated a chore chart to divide up these responsibilities, and it’s been useful so far.  Having a weekly chore chart has been helpful because all my responsibilities are in one place and I’m forced to hold myself accountable to make sure that I complete my chores. Any sort of system that ensures that every one of your roommates plays an active role in cleaning your living space will guarantee that the responsibility of that is shared. It is also a great way to build your time management skills, as you will have to balance your chores and schoolwork. A system like this is also a great way to avoid conflict, as resentment can easily build when one person is doing all the work to clean your shared living space. Dividing responsibilities is a great way to promote communication between everyone and you get a clean space out of it too! 

Tip #3: Write down the rules 

At our first floor meeting, my resident assistant emphasized the need for a roommate agreement or a list of rules that all of us could agree to follow. While you may talk about certain things like visitors and cleanliness out loud, I highly encourage you to write them down. The first night that we were all together, my roommates and I wrote down our ground rules, such as who was allowed to visit, how we would share things and how we would divide our space. Having the rules written down is a great way to ensure that everyone knows what is acceptable and ignorance is not an excuse. Talking about them with your roommates and writing them down also ensures that everyone is accountable for the rules. Additionally, as you’re writing things down, you think about things that you ordinarily wouldn’t. You are allowed to be proactive about potential issues instead of tackling problems as they come. They don’t have to be super detailed, but having the rules written out has been great for my roommates and me. 

Tip #4: Be open-minded! 

We all have our things: I talk to myself all the time, my roommates like different styles of music than I do and we all like organizing our spaces in different ways. We all deal with stress and classes differently and we all have vastly different interests. The best part about having random roommates is that it forces you to meet people who are different from you and become comfortable with the different quirks that they bring. It is a bit odd to meet a person for the first time and be OK with living with them. If you all adhere to your rules and respect each other, the only barrier left is embracing all of the different aspects of your roommate’s personality. It may seem difficult but keeping an open mind will only benefit you in the long run. It allows you to understand your roommates when conflicts do arise and it helps in building the teamwork skills that you will need in college and beyond. 

The prospect of randomly assigned roommates is scary. At the end of the day, being respectful to your roommates and holding yourself accountable to the standards that you set for your room will make the experience entirely painless. Your dorm is your home away from home. To ensure a happy home, you must put in the work to ensure a good, healthy, clean and safe environment. It’s entirely possible with a little effort and I’m sure that everyone will be able to handle it just fine. 

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Cameron Glymph is a content editor at Her Campus FSU; she oversees a group of six writers and edits their articles weekly. In her own writing for HCFSU, she focuses on local culture, fashion, and social justice issues. Beyond Her Campus, Cameron works as an editor the FSView and Florida Flambeau, the independent student run newspaper at FSU. There, she assists in managing a group of 10 writers and covers topics related to Tallahassee arts and culture. She is also an associate editor for the Kudzu Review, the undergraduate literary magazine at FSU. She is currently a sophomore at FSU, double majoring in English and Political Science. In her free time, Cameron enjoys gardening, reading books and hanging out with her friends.