Roommate Etiquette

Before classes start, it is imperative that you establish a line of communication with your roommate. I know that you may have avoided this issue for a while but don’t be afraid of your roommate.  She will not bite!  Also, your roommate does not have to become your BFF or your future maid-of-honor in your wedding to a movie star.  Remember, your roommate may come from a different background and she will probably not carry the same rules that you hold for yourself.  Therefore, compromising is the best route!  Here are a few tips to help break the ice!

1.  Sleep Schedules
Now this is a big one.  College is very demanding, needless to say, and there will be times where you might pull an all-nighter.  In addition, there will be times when you want to go out to a party and will not return to your dorm until about 3 a.m. in the morning.  But do not expect your roommate to do the same.  If your roommate is the type who goes to sleep every night at 11 p.m. and you go to sleep at 2 a.m., there needs to be a discussion about the lights and noise level after a certain time period.  Perhaps you can invest in desk lamps or headphones so you don’t have to disturb the other roommate with overhead lighting, loud music, or television! Don’t be afraid to ask your roommate about what time that she goes to sleep so that both of you can reach middle ground.
2.  Visitors- From Get-Togethers to “Sexile”
It is very good etiquette to always let your roommate know ahead of time when you want to invite a friend over, multiple friends, or even a boyfriend whom you would like to share with a night of passion.   It isn’t required that you know your roommate’s school schedule.  However, you never know when she will be studying for that big Macroeconomics exam or practicing her conjugations for her French class the next morning. 
3.  Cleaning
Nobody should expect a collegiate woman to be a 50s housewife.  However, one should hold a standard for her room to not look like a twister had torn everything apart, either.  Clean up after yourself and make sure you or your roommate takes out the trash regularly to avoid all sorts of insects.  For those with bigger rooms, perhaps you can set aside a day, like Saturday or Saturday for example, to clean the common room or areas where you both share the same space!
4.  Honesty
This one may seem like a no-brainer; however, it is important to repeat.  Always be honest with your roommate.  If you don’t like that she walks around naked in the door room or leaves her empty beer cans scattered all over the floor, say so.  Even if she talks too loudly during skype conversations or turns up the temperature in the room at an extremely high level, say so.  One thing to make sure is to never express your disgust with what your roommate does to friends…especially if you had never spoken to your roommate about the issue. For one, it makes the situation more complicated.  Your friends do not live with her, you do.  And furthermore, your complaints will continue if you spend more time gossiping than actually making time to interact with someone who probably has no idea that the certain habit bothers you.
5.  Seek Help
If you and your roommate aren’t getting along, you should never be afraid to talk to your RCA.  Truth is, RCAs are just like us—college students.  However, they are older, most likely have been through these experiences, and are trained to mediate situations.  Not to mention that they aren’t just there to give you food when your stomach is protesting late at night.  Usually, RCAs are very accessible. Send him or her a quick email so that you both can schedule a time to meet for a quick chat.  You have all to gain from the experience.
6.  Safety
I hate that the list has to end at six and not five but this one is also important.  Even though Princeton is an extremely safe place, it is not a utopia.  Things can happen and so you should take precaution.  If say for instance, you are going to a party and will not be returning until the early hours of the morning, it would be a good idea to let her know.  Some people, like myself for instance, get worried when someone is gone all day…and even all night.  Just in case something happens (I don’t mean to scare you), it would be wise to let your roommate know.  And even better, exchange phone numbers! 
 Well Princetonettes, that’s all for now.  I hope I have helped to ease the anxiety of living with a new person this year.  Be sure to be on the look out for future articles! 

Photo Credit: Here