Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Adjusting to Living With A Roommate

For many of you, living on campus as a freshman is the first time you will be living with a roommate.  I already had experience when I was coming into freshman year since I've shared a room with my sister since I was 4 years old.  Sometimes transitioning into sharing a room can be difficult, especially if you have never shared a room ever.  Here are some tips to make living with your roommate a good experience:
1. Get in contact with your roommate before you move in on August 25th.
Start getting to know your roommate.  Find them on Facebook, call them on the phone, or email them.  Start to get to know each other as you plan what to bring for your room.  Figure out what you have in common and work off that.  You don't have to become best friends before you come to school, but communicating with them a little bit is a good start to your "roomie" relationship.
2. Make a roommate contract.
Every set of roommates will need to do this and hand it into their RA.  Don't blow this off though because this will shape the kind of relationship you want to have with your roommate for the entire year.  Spend some time hashing out a set of conduct rules that you and your roommate should follow in order to have a pleasant year together.
3. Communicate.
If you are having someone over or you're going to be out late, let your roommate know so they aren't surprised at 2 a.m. when you return to your room.  If you have a test the next day and your roommate is known for staying up late, let them know that you need sleep that night and you would appreciate it if they would try to be quiet.  Communication is key to having a good roomie relationship.  It shows respect for your roommate and keeps the air clear of any problems or issues.  If you and your roommate have an issue, talk it out.  The RA's are always there to help you as well, so if you and your roommate need help settling an issue, seek out your RA.  It's what they're there for.
4. Make boundaries clear.
To avoid getting into any arguments or disagreements with your roommate, make sure that if there are any boundaries, make them clear.  (This could also go along with the last tip: communicate.)  If there is a certain snack in the fridge you don't want your roommate to eat, either mark it some way or tell them that it's yours.  You will be sharing a lot in your room so if there is anything in particular (like a hair dryer, a snack, etc.) that they'll need permission to use, let them know.  This will prevent misunderstandings during the year.
5. Get to know your roommate.
Ok, so not all roommates become best friends.  In reality, some just don't get along.  So, I'm not telling you that you NEED to become best friends with your roommate.  You'll be living with them all year though, so get to know them a little.  It makes living with them that much more pleasant, and it can be really fun sometimes (for example, my freshman roommate and I would go into Burlington on "roomie dates" and take pictures together or grab some drinks from Starbucks).  Having a roommate is all part of the freshman experience so be open-minded and have fun with it.  You could end up making a life-long friend!
If you have any burning questions about living with a roommate, please let me know! You can find me on Twitter (LittleLizzie33) or email me (emurray@mail.smcvt.edu).  I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have!

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