Last year I lived in Birnkrant Residential College, which was a standard dorm-style setup with two roommates and a communal bathroom for all the other guys on my floor. It all worked out super well for me, and my roommates and I never had any issues or conflict. After that personal experience, and from my experience as an RA in a freshman dorm this year, here are some of the best tips that I can offer about choosing the “right” roommate.
1. Use Facebook! I remember the most useful resource being the “Class of 2020 Male Roommate Search” Facebook group. Even though pretty much everyone just posts different versions of the same thing, it’s still helpful to find people living in your dorm and finding people to message.
2. Be open to changing, but still be honest about your habits that you know won’t change. I remember in high school I would always go to bed around 10 or 11, but now I usually don’t until closer to 1 since my classes start later. Don’t expect all of your high school habits to directly translate, so keep that in mind when talking to potential roommates and don’t count them out just because you currently have some differences. With that being said, if you are really set on certain non-negotiables, make sure to find someone with the same requirements.
3. Don’t be afraid to say no. Sometimes it can get awkward if you’re talking to someone then start to realize that you don’t really want them as a roommate. However, it is be better for the both of you if you come out honestly and say that you would still want to be friends but that you don’t think your living styles would be compatible. Don’t sacrifice a year because you are afraid of hurting someone’s feelings- just be nice and honest and they’ll understand.
4. Your roommate doesn’t need to be your best friend. If they are, then that’s awesome, but a lot of people come in with the expectation that they will be best friends with their roommate and only set themselves up for disappointment. The most important thing is that you both have similar habits and can comfortably live together.
5. Be honest and open with one another from the start. Living with new people is a big change, and the easiest way to ease the process and have the least conflict throughout the year is by getting in the habit of being open with one another. If someone is doing something bothersome, confronting it early on will end up being much better than building tension through passive aggressive comments. Often times people are completely oblivious of the things they are doing wrong and are happy to correct their behavior.
That’s all I have for now- good luck and start messaging people!