5 Tips for Living with a Roommate

Brooke Thompson, Contributor

Welcome to college. Chances are you have never lived with anyone other than your family at this point in your life, and it may not be an easy adjustment. You never thought that you would have ever missed sharing a bathroom with your little sister or fighting over leftovers with your brother. With roommates, there’s a lot more mess, hair in the drain, and finding out that someone already ate your food because they “thought it was theirs.” Whether you are living with your friends or strangers, here’s some helpful tips to living with a roommate:
1. You do not have to be best friends
You can live with someone without being their best friend. Of course, be friendly because you two are living together, but you do not have to hang out all the time and go get meals together. It is okay to just be cordial and say hey without having any deep, friendship-building conversations. You will find your people and it is okay if your roommate is not one of them.
2. Keep the common spaces tidy
Do the common spaces have to be spick and span all the time? No. Should you respect that people other than you have to use that area? Yes. Clean up after yourself. Do not leave a mess, and if you shed, do not leave your hair in the shower. Other people have to look at that (talking from personal experience). Just be courteous.
3. Take Turns
If you don’t have time to clean or do dishes and your roommate does it for you, return the favor. Don’t make someone feel as if they are the only ones who know how to clean. If this is your first time away from home and actually cleaning and doing things without Mom’s guidance, call her. It is okay to ask what cleaners you are supposed to use and where. It is better to be safe than have your favorite T-shirt bleach stained.
4. Call Mom
Or Dad. Or Grandpa or sister or whomever. One of your family members has to know what it is like to live with people you’ve never lived with before. They can offer you the best advice. Especially your mom. She’s broken up many of your sibling feuds in her day. Plus, if this is your first time away from your parents, chances are you will get homesick. Don’t wait until you have a bad day to call. Call whenever you get a chance. Call her about anything and everything.
5. Communicate
When you are living with someone you have never lived with before, communication is key. Don’t be afraid to ask someone to turn their music down because you are trying to study. It is okay to ask that they don’t slam their doors when you have pulled an all-nighter. Be an adult and talk it out. Do not be passive aggressive and leave sticky notes or text messages.
Remember: you are most likely living with this person for at least a year. School is stressful enough without a toxic living situation. You can also always talk to an CL (community leader) about anything and they can try to offer some guidance. Living with a roommate can be hard, but it can also be awesome. You may even find someone who you actually don’t mind living with and decide to be roommates next year!