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Freshmen 101: Roommate Edition

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Towson chapter.

By Natalyn Taylor

Going from having your own space at home, to sharing it with a roommate can be a HUGE adjustment, especially for incoming freshmen. It can be both an exciting yet daunting experience as you adjust to living with someone new. When picking a roommate, make sure to get to know them first and learn their habits. Also, make sure that they are nice, polite and sympathetic towards you and others. To help navigate this new living situation, here are some tips and advice for making the most of your roommate experience:

  • Establish Boundaries.

It’s important to establish boundaries with your roommate early on. Talk about your expectations and habits openly and honestly from the beginning. Discuss your expectations regarding cleanliness, noise levels, study habits and visitors. Also, be willing to listen to your roommates’ wants and needs as well to foster a good communicative relationship.

  • Respect Each Other’s Space.

Sharing a room with someone is completely different than being at home and having your own space. You need to be mindful of personal space and be mindful of each other’s need for privacy.

  • Set Ground Rules.

Setting ground rules can help prevent conflicts and misunderstandings. Try to agree on things like guests, sharing certain items, study times and quiet hours. (This was a mistake that I made at the beginning of the school year, so don’t be like me! Don’t be afraid to set ground rules and create a healthy living space for yourself and your roommate.)

  • Compromise.

Living with a roommate often requires compromise. Be open and willing to find solutions that work for both of you.

  • Be Respectful.

Simple things like keeping your side of the room clean and being mindful of your roommate’s belongings show that you respect your roommate. Remember to treat them how you would like to be treated.

  • Address Issues Promptly & Respectfully.

If something is bothering you, or there are habits that your roommate exhibits that bother you, address it right away calmly and respectfully. Don’t let small and easily fixable issues escalate. (Also, it’s best to resolve conflict face-to-face to avoid misunderstandings and more issues.)

  • Document Issues.

If certain behaviors or specific incidents continue to happen, keep a record of these things. This documentation can be useful in case you have to escalate the situation to higher authorities, such as your RA (resident assistant) or housing office.

  • Know When to Escalate.

If there’s ever a situation that is intolerable or unsafe, don’t hesitate to escalate the issue to your RA, or the appropriate authority. Depending on the severity of the situation, you may need to consider alternative living arrangements. This could involve requesting a room change or exploring other housing options on campus.

  • Take Care of Yourself.

Sometimes, dealing with a roommate can be stressful. Make sure to prioritize your well-being and seek support from friends or family. Also, remember that you don’t have to be besties with your roommate and it’s ok if you’re not. Being able to co-exist might be the best way to move about the roommate situation.

  •  Enjoy the Experience.

If you get lucky enough to live with a good roommate, embrace that opportunity to build a friendship and learn from each other!

Hopefully, this advice was helpful and prevents you from having a rocky roommate experience like I did. Navigating a roommate living situation may be challenging but just remember to have patience, respect, and open communication with your roommate to create a positive and enjoyable living environment for the both of you.

My name is Natalyn and I am an Honors College student at Towson University pursuing a major in Pre-Law and minor in Psychology.