Can you remember the first time you had to share a room for a long period of time? I had my own room growing up. Aside from long trips and camps, my first roommate was freshman year of college. It was a major reality check. Your relationship with your roommate(s) strongly affects your daily routine. Once my best friends and I moved to Hill Gardens (off-campus housing) for my third year, I changed my entire lifestyle. Heading into our fourth and final year, we had established a fabulous system. That leaves one less thing for me to think about. Of course, some things work better for others. Throughout my journey with my roommates, I have learned a lot. There are three major concepts I have to consistently remind myself of:
1. First and foremost, communication is key.
My roommates and I made a “no BS” pact a long time ago. If something is bothersome, express it. If someone is bothersome, express it to that person. Change occurs through conversation. Many unnecessary circumstances can arise from lack of communication.
2. My motto: leave shared spaces as you found them!
Kitchen – Do the dishes right away!!! Doing dishes is a part of the cooking process. Wash them while you’re still in the groove of chefing. Another key area: the fridge. Keep up with expiration dates. No one needs a stinky fridge. Our fridge is packed with fruit and vegetables. Once a month we clean the fridge out and begin again with fresh groceries.
Living Space – Coffee tables are center pieces. The area is only as clean as the coffee table! I highly recommend removing everything from the living room and bringing it to the kitchen at the end of the night. Give the pillows a fluff, the floor a sweep, roll up the blanket, and voilà. If you live on-campus, follow the BCDs. Bed, Closet, Desk. These three sections are the majority of your space. If they are properly maintained, your relationship with your roommate will prosper. Waking up to semi-cleanliness is a great way to start a fabulous day in Burly!
Bathroom – Change the roll when there is no toilet paper on it. Carly, one of my roommates, pestered us about this. I am genuinely scared to leave an empty roll behind. Also, clear the drain. Having loads of hair is not-so-fun when you need to empty the drain. Lastly, ditch the trash when needed. Lingering stench is the last thing you need…
3. Accept that there will be times when you feel like you are doing the most.
Give a little to get a little! There are days when I am on my game and keep the entire apartment clean. I step up for the team. On the contrary, there are days when I am off my game and lack contribution. On these days, my roommates will step up. Genuine appreciation for your roommates will be present on the days they step up for you. Perhaps do the extra dishes in the sink even if they’re not yours. Take out the trash for the third time this week. Living with one another requires participation and communication. Maintain these two virtues and you will set yourself up for success and a wonderful addition to your college experience.
College can feel like a whirlwind sometimes, so if you can secure an ideal living situation with your roommate(s), you are sure to have a solid foundation for your journey.