Roommates: Learning to Coexist

It’s October. That means it has been almost two months since my freshman year began (*insert panic mode here*). It’s hard to believe the long-awaited arrival of “college life” has come and definitely gone. Two months may sound like a snap of the fingers (and it feels as though it went that quickly), but in reality, I, along with all of my first year peers around the world, have entered into a new stage of life where my future is in my hands and I need to figure things out mostly on my own. Don’t get me wrong, I call my parents at least three times a day just to make sure I am doing well. Along with this crazy life transition, I had to mentally prepare myself to live with an individual I didn’t even know.

Communication with my new roomie began immediately. The helpful contact information attached to her name allowed me to text her a soon as we got assigned. I did wait a few hours, just in case she hadn’t checked the page yet. I bet it would have been weird to be receiving messages from a complete stranger saying, “Hey! So, what color bath rugs are you thinking?” Luckily, we hit it off pretty welf. I remember thinking, “So, that’s it, I have a roommate and I’m going away to college.”

Before the big day (move in day, that is) I wanted to make sure I knew what it meant to live with another human being that is not family. Basically, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t an overwhelming, control freak, annoying roommate. I think living with a stranger can be an experience that teaches you to be many things,  not to mention how awesome is it to automatically have someone to go to Publix with you?

So, here are my tips for having good communication and having some fun with your new roomie:

1. Have an Open Mind

I think we all know that everyone is different. No two people are exactly the same. Keep in mind that you are both being placed in a new environment and the only thing helping the transition is your habits. If your roommate meditates every morning then embrace it. Instead of comparing your differences, find a way to appreciate them. You never know, maybe you were made to meditate in the mornings too.  

2. Offer to Bring An Appliance

Those big-ticket items you need for dorm life include a fridge, microwave, coffee maker, etc. Even if you and your roommate decide you don’t need some of the items, it is a good idea to offer to bring them along and see what your roommate can bring as well. It’s all about divvying up things equally.

3. If Your Roommate Cleaned the Floors Last Week, You Do It This Week

As per growing up and leaving home, you no longer have your parents to clean up after you. Even if you enjoyed helping your family clean the house, it is now solely your job to make sure your humble abode is comfortable and clean. If your roommate did a specific chore last week, it’s your turn to do the same.

4. Map Out Your Classes Together

A good way to bond and explore campus a bit would be to do things the old fashioned way. Grab a campus map and circle the buildings where your classes are. Then, step outside to start the search. You and your roommate areofficially explorers and bonding all the while.

5. Try to Cook Meals Together

My roommate doesn’t have a meal plan but I do. Luckily, I only have a five-day one so I can cook and try out restaurants during the weekends. Planning a “family meal” every week makes cooking more fun and doubles as bonding time.

6. Plan Outings for the Weekend Together

Want to check out the local bookstore this weekend? If your roommate is interested, make it an outing and discover each other’s likes and dislikes over the yellowed pages and bold black letters of second-hand books. Figure out what you both like to do and make it something fun to do in your downtime.

7. Take the Bus Anywhere

My roommate is definitely more of a master at the bus system than I ever will be. Thankfully, whenever we hop on a bus she knows exactly where we are going while I blindly scroll through too many bus routes on my phone. Taking the bus may seem boring but when you hop on with your roommate on your way to try out a new restaurant, it becomes an adventure of sorts. Bond over long bus rides and itchy upholstered seats.

8. Go to T.J.Maxx Together

This is one of my favorites. Really you can go to any store that you both love, but who doesn’t love a discount store that sells literally everything you could need or want? (Maxxinistas, unite!) Walking through endless aisles of clothes, shoes, decor, makeup, and much more with your roommate is definitely a recipe for friendship.

9. Talk to Each Other About Life Updates

While bonding and going out with your roommate is awesome, remember to take the time to really talk. Some of the best bonding with my roommate happens when we are boing doing homework or scrolling through the web and we spark up a conversation about our favorite classes or something funny that happened on campus. Be each other’s confidant and most importantly, friend.

The whole living with another human being thing can be pretty scary at first. But, if you establish good communication and do things together to build a friendship, everything will be okay.