College roommates have the reputation for being completely disastrous. From stealing food and throwing loud parties in the dorms, the whole experience can be traumatic for new college freshman. Many new students find it hard enough to adapt to the changes in their environment, social interactions and academics without adding to it the challenge of living with a complete stranger in a confined space. But while having a college dorm mate can be hard at times, with a few helpful hints, every student can strive to be courteous and respectful.
After meeting a new roommate for the first time, students should sit down together to introduce themselves and lay some ground rules. Getting to know a person and their habits and quirks is a great way to break the ice and make the situation a little more comfortable. Setting ground rules early in the process can also prevent any unfortunate misunderstandings. Talk about sleeping habits, class schedules, chores, and desired study times. Also discuss socializing, friends, visitors to the room and other scenarios involving people in the shared living space. It is essential during this time to be understanding of the other person's wishes and to be open to compromise. For example, if one roommate likes to go to bed at 10 pm, while the other prefers to stay up until 2 am, perhaps they can agree that lights off will be at midnight every day.
Gossiping and talking about roommates behind their backs is an easy way to make living situations uncomfortable. Should there be tension in the dorm or one person breaks an agreed upon rule, don't gossip about their behavior with people down the hall. More than likely, the roommate will find out and the situation will only worsen. Instead, confront the roommate amicably and try to work the problem out as friends. If no solution can be reached, ask the resident advisor for help mediating. Another way to show respect for roommates is to clean up after oneself. Putting away laundry, throwing away trash and making a bed are easy ways to keep the dorm room tidy. Sometimes cleaning can seem unimportant at stressful or busy times, like during exams or after work, but dirty spaces can be perceived by roommates as rude or selfish.
Living with college roommates in the dorms doesn't have to be a stressful situation. In fact, with these helpful tips, the whole experience can be easy and enjoyable.