Addressing the Roommate Situation 

Whether you are a freshman in college living in a small dorm with one other roommate, or a senior renting an apartment with multiple roommates, the roommate situation can either result in a smooth or rocky environment during the course of the school year. Many first year students chose to live with a complete stranger by selecting “random” when submitting housing requests. Some individuals use Facebook pages or other online surveys to find a roommate with similar interests. A handful of students even decide to room with their high school best friends or acquaintances as they continue their journey to college. Freshman or senior, best friend or stranger, you never really know what it's like to live with someone until you actually live with them. Once you are found sharing a tight space in a downtown apartment or claustrophobic dorm with your new roomie or roomies, you soon learn more than you’ve ever wanted to know about someone. For example, you get to know their eating preferences, sleep schedule, homework load, favorite netflix series, if they’re clean or messy, active or lazy, and so much more! You might become best friends, you might become enemies, but no one ever forgets their roommates, and here are some tips on how to deal with the roommate situation. 

Divide up the Dorm/Apartment Shopping List 

Just like being the only person actually working on a group project, being the only person to buy things for the dorm or apartment can be very frustrating. Before heading off to school for the year make sure you create a list together. My roommates and I used a shared Google Doc, and start by listing everything necessary that you think you will need throughout the year. Then, divide up the items to bring so that each roommate spends roughly the same amount of money when furnishing and decorating the room. This will help make everyone feel more at home in your new space, and it will prevent any fights about who bought what or who spend more. 

Establish Boundaries 

Before or even on move in day, make sure you discuss with your roommates what is to be shared, and what are personal possessions. Here at Marquette, we made a Roompact agreement with our Resident Assistant going over how we want our living environment to be for the next nine months. We discussed things including: buying individual food, sharing all furniture, a rotating cleaning schedule, communicating before having guests over, and so on. By establishing guidelines like these, it will help to hold each other responsible for not picking up or not doing your part in order to be a good roommate. 

Communicate With Each Other 

Whenever a problem arises it is essential that you communicate with each other; you do live together after all. If you have a really important exam coming up that you need to study for, just let your roommate know before they start blaring music and having a dance party while you’re attempting to read your textbook. If you are not feeling well and need some sleep, ask them nicely to be more quiet or to hangout somewhere else on campus. If you are fed up with them eating your food or not cleaning up, simply talk to them and work it out before it becomes a bigger problem. By talking it out you can come up with a solution that works for both of you, and by compromising you will be able to both live comfortably by preventing any possible arguments. 

Roomie or Bestie? 

Always remember, just because they are your roommate does not mean that they have to be your new best friend. In some cases, many people meet their lifelong best friend by rooming with them sometime in college, like Chandler and Ross from Friends. On the other hand, living with your best friend might not be what you expected it to be. Like I said earlier, living with someone is completely different than being friends with someone, keep that in mind when thinking about your next roommate. Whether you and your roommate get super close or are just civil, a best friend and a roommate can either be the same person, or two completely different people. 

Be Respectful of Each Other 

Seems like a no-brainer doesn’t it? But, the more comfortable that you get with your roommate as the year progresses, it can be easy to treat them like a sibling or even a parent. Make sure to remember those boundaries you established early on, and consider how you would feel if you’re roommate did not respect your privacy or your feelings. By communicating clearly, you can effectively understand what your roommate wants from you, and they can understand what kind of room you want to live in as well. You have to live with each other, so remember to be respectful of their routines as well as any ups or downs they experience throughout the year. 

For me, freshman year is flying by so fast, and I truly cannot believe that it is almost finals week already. My roommate situation overall has been pretty good, but I created these tips based off of things that my roommates and I can improve on. Especially living in a triple, or even a quad, it is essential to make sure everyone is comfortable and happy in a living environment. If things start to go south, someone could easily end up becoming homesick or sad, so do your part by sharing a living space, and be a good roommate by following the steps listed above. If you and your roommate are going through a rough patch, regardless of what it may be, look into implementing some of these steps into your dorm or apartment to ensure a happy and healthy second semester. Remember these tips when considering who to live with next year as well, and how to prep for next year’s move in day. Having a roommate/roommates is something that almost every college student experiences within their four years at a university, make sure to make the most of this unique experience and maybe even make a great friend out of it.